Zaha Hadid – the Grand Dame of Architecture

The brilliant architect has left behind the legacy of a lifetime.

When Dame Zaha Hadid passed away earlier this year, the world mourned the loss of a genius. The Iraqi-born British architect won many awards and laurels for her brilliant work in architecture. She was born and raised in Iraq, before going to Lebanon to study mathematics at the American University of Beirut; following which she moved to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Her career took off when she started working for architects Rem Kooolhaas and Elia Zenghelis. She went on to establish her own practice in London in 1980, even teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Hadid’s star shone internationally in 1988, when she displayed a series of impressive architectural drawings for the pioneering “Deconstructivism in Architecture” exhibition shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her designs were noted for their fluidity and sweeping forms. One of her most famous works is the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, which was her winning submission for the Pritzker Prize in 2004. She was the first female and first Iraqi recipient of the award. She also won UK’s prestigious Riba Stirling Prize for two consecutive years. For her services to architecture, Hadid was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2012. Other notable works include the Maxxi: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, Guangzhou Opera House, the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion, the Heydar Aliyev centre in Baku, and a stadium for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar.

Hadad was also deeply interested in fashion, and collaborated with many brands. One of the most memorable was a 2007 art project with Chanel, dedicated to the classic quilted bag. A self-confessed shoe addict, she also designed shoes for labels like United Nude and Melissa. Known for her signature black outfits, she was a fan of Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons, which she often sported.

The groundbreaking genius of Zaha Hadid will be sorely missed in every creative field.

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