Zaha Hadid: The woman who reshaped modern architecture

Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, was the first female winner of the top Pritzker Architecture Prize on this day in 2004. 

She also received the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, and she became the first woman to be awarded the 2016 Royal Gold Medal in architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Today Zaha’s ongoing legacy is featured by Google, who is paying homage to a woman who captured the world’s attention and shattered glass ceilings.

Today Google commemorates architect Zena Hadid [Google Image] 

Early years 

Zana Hadid was born into a prominent family in Baghdad during the last years of the Hashemite monarchy. 

She grew up in the aftermath of the military coup led by Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qassim, and left for Beirut to continue with her college education in mathematics, before moving to London to study architecture.

“Hadid took a fistful of everything that was good and beautiful in her homeland … and with it she signed her signature on every corner of the globe she visited,” Hamid Dabashi wrote.

In 1979, she established her own practice in London, the Zaha Hadid Architects. She was a woman in a field dominated by men, but her passion was in pushing the limits of design. 

“I never use the issue about being a woman architect,” she said in an interview to Icon magazine, “but if it helps younger people to know they can break through the glass ceiling, I don’t mind that.”

The artist reshaped modern architecture using the surrounding landscape for building inspiration. She was known for her neofuturistic design.

The lines and sharp angles of the Vitra Fire Station in Germany were inspired by nearby vineyards and the roof of the London Aquatic Centre forms the shape of a wave. 

“She was truly a pioneer in the field of architecture. She represents the highest aspirations of the Pritzker Architecture Prize,” Chicago-based Pritzker Architecture Prize organisation said.

Hadid died unexpectedly of a heart attack last year with many projects left unfinished. 

The artist was also behind the design of the Al Wakrah Stadium, for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Her work in pictures 

A visitor walks at the newly opened Galaxy Soho building, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, in Beijing [Jason Lee/Files/Reuters]

The Guangzhou Opera House, in China, designed by Zaha Hadid [Getty Images]

The Heydar Aliyev Center is a 619, 000-square-foot building complex in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles. The center is named for Heydar Aliyev, the leader of Soviet-era Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and president of Azerbaijan from October 1993 to October 2003. [Daylife]

9 An exterior view of Heydar Aliyev Center in downtown of Baku, Azerbaijan, 18 June 2015. The building was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, over an area of 101801.0 square meters and was finished in 2014, becoming one of the modern symbols of Baku [EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT]

Aerial view of the Olympic Park showing the Aquatics Centre and the Water Polo Arena [BaldBoris/Creative Commons/Wikipedia] 

Source: Al Jazeera News