5 things to know as we remember brilliant architect Zaha Hadid
Today, we lost a woman who embodied the word trailblazer. Pioneering female architect Dame Zaha Hadid, a formidable force who tirelessly worked to leave her thoughtful mark on the world, died of a heart attack. Earlier today, BBC reports that Hadid was being treated for bronchitis in a Miami hospital when she unexpectedly passed away. She was 65 years old.
While we are making this announcement with great sadness in our hearts, we look back on her life with something else entirely: awe and pride. Dame Zaha was an achiever like no other and, right now, we’d like to take a moment to discuss the powerful legacy she has left behind for us all. With a fate for greatness within her, Dame Zaha gave the world many gifts, treasures that will continue to live on in her name. Here are a few things about her that we’d like to take a moment to celebrate.
1. She was a pioneering female architect.
Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid was known to be the greatest female architect in the world today. She began her architectural journey in 1972 and, by 1979, she had created her own practice: Zaha Hadid Architects. Since then, she’s earned a reputation as a revolutionary architect who shaped the future of her industry.
2. She was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for architecture.
If you take the time to read about this extraordinary woman, you will come across the word “first” many times. Most notably, Dame Zaha was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 2004.
“Zaha Hadid is one of the most gifted practitioners of the art of architecture today,” stated Pritzker Prize juror and architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable. “From the earliest drawings and models to current buildings and work in progress, there has been a consistently original and strong personal vision that has changed the way we see and experience space. Hadid’s fragmented geometry and fluid mobility do more than create an abstract, dynamic beauty; this is a body of work that explores and expresses the world we live in.”
3. She won the Riba Stirling Prize — the UK’s most prestigious architecture award — not once, but TWICE.
Zaha Hadid never gave up or wavered, which is demonstrated by the fact that she won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award two separate times. Once, in 2010, for her Maxxi Museum in Rome and a second time, in 2011, for the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton.
After hearing of Dame Zaha’s death, Riba president Jane Duncan asserted, “The world of architecture has lost a star today.”
4. Dame Zaha’s Heydar Aliyev Center was the first architectural project to win Design of the Year.
Not only did Hadid make history for being the first woman to win London’s Design Museum’s Design of the Year award – her Heyday Aliyez Center was also the very first work of architecture to win. “It’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work,” explained jury member Ekow Eshun.
5. Zaha Hadid did not only succeed in a man’s world — she made it her own.
It’s no secret that architecture is a man’s world, yet Zaha Hadid didn’t care. She pursued her artistic passion despite obstacles and broke through glass ceilings so she could design her own. “We now see more established female architects all the time,” Hadid once said. “That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress.”
Thanks to Dame Zaha’s vision, perseverance and talent, the world of architecture is forever changed.