The Introduction of Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid is an award-winning Iraqi-born British architect well known for designs which are bold, innovative, and complex. Her creations offer an undeniable presence, provoking imagination, movement and emotion. She stands out as a respected figure in the contemporary architectural world, having received the Pritzker Prize—the highest recognition in the field—in 2004, becoming the first woman to achieve this honour.
Early Life in Baghdad
Hadid was born in Baghdad in 1950. She and her family were part of the artistic elite in Iraq; her father was an industrialist and her mother a society hostess. Hadid went to boarding school in England during her teenage years and went on to study mathematics at the American University of Beirut. Hadid then pursued architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, a postgraduate school located in London.
Hadid’s Education At the Architectural Association School of Architecture
Hadid attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture from 1972–77. In a 2014 television documentary, Hadid discussed her time at the Architectural Association School of Architecture as inspiring and influential. The school, which had a reputation for pushing the boundaries, allowed her to be in contact with renowned teachers and exposed her to the works of radical architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, and Bernard Tschumi. Moreover, Hadid had the opportunity to experiment with new forms and materials, a crucial factor in her professional success.
Hadid’s Influences at the Architectural Association School of Architecture
At the Architectural Association School of Architecture, Hadid was primarily influenced by the teaching of Professor Rem Koolhaas. She was particularly attracted to his teachings and the way he examined architecture in space and time. She was deeply inspired by his holistic approach to design, which pushed her to explore the boundaries between architecture, urban planning, and technology. Hadid was also strongly influenced by the more traditional approaches of her tutors Elia Zenghelis and Bernard Tschumi, who taught her about creating continuous surfaces and linear elements.
Hadid’s Unique Design Style
Hadid’s design style was profoundly influenced by the schooling she received from the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Her unique approach to design and the buildings she created, demonstrated the impact of her studies, incorporating organic shapes and daring designs, that pushed the boundaries of what is conventionally accepted as architecture.
Hadid’s Work After Graduation
Upon graduating in 1977, Hadid started working with her former teachers, Elia Zenghelis and Rem Koolhaas at their London office. Hadid went on to design her first major building, The Iceberg, in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the first structure to fully incorporate the principles of deconstructivism which she was familiar with at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. During her time at the London office, Hadid also produced numerous influential designs such as the Hovers Couragehouse for an Entrepreneur in 1982.
Zaha Hadid’s Impact On Architecture
Hadid’s unique designs and bold approach not only had an incredible impact on the world of architecture, but also changed the perception of what architecture is. Her works allowed for the exploration of new possibilities, which is often the prevalent force in progress. Furthermore, her success allowed for women to gain recognition in the field, opening doors for others to follow their career aspirations.
The Legacy of Zaha Hadid
Hadid has won countless awards, including the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2004, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the Stirling Prize, three times and the Riba Gold Medals in 2012 and 2016. She was also the first woman to win the RIBA Gold Medal. In 2015, Queen Elizabeth conferred Hadid with the honor of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to architecture. This is a remarkable testament her impact in the architecture world and her contribution to design.
Collaborative Projects of Hadid
Hadid’s collaborative projects demonstrate her dedication to pushing the boundaries of architecture outside the realm of her independent work. In 2010, Hadid worked on the Aliada Tower in Lebanon with architect Hadi A. Zahr, creating a stunning swirly building. In 2012, Hadid collaborated with Austrian artist and designer, Kiki Smith, to created the complex sculptural installation called ‘The Peak’. In 2017, Hadid worked on the project ‘Terra Massiva’ with Toan Nguyen , creating sculptures with a technique which combines her trademark curves with concrete and steel.
Hadid’s Projects Across the Globe
Hadid’s projects span the globe, from the Miyazaki housing project in the Netherlands, to The London Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, England. Hadid’s most well known works include the Contemporary Arts Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria, The Aquatics Centre in London, England, and the recently constructed Leeza Soho skyscraper in China. Her global impact is demonstrated through these works and many more.
Hadid’s Contributions to Technology & Innovation
Hadid was dedicated to pushing the boundaries not just of physical architecture but also in the field of technological advancement. She was a prime example of those who used digital advancement to support and advance architectural work. One of Hadid’s most acclaimed works, ‘The Peak’, was created using 3D printers, combining material technology and structural design. Hadid recognized the potential of this technology and utilizes it often in her later works.
Hadid’s Collaborations With Other Professionals
Hadid was also an advocate of working with different professionals. Her collaborative projects had immense success, from The Peak to the Aliada Tower. Hadid also had a deep understanding of technology which she demonstrated in her collaborations with architects, illustrators and city planners alike. Collaboration was a key factor which aided Hadid in creating some of the most remarkable architecture of our generation.
Hadid’s Death & Posthumous Awards
In 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack at the age of 65. Her death left the world of architecture in mourning, yet her works speak for themselves, and her legacy continues to inspire generations. Posthumously, Hadid was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in 2017, becoming the first woman ever to achieve this honour. A testament to the barrierbreaking nature of her work, Hadid’s designs were displayed in some of the world’s most renowned galleries and museums – a fitting way to commemorate her career.