Iraqi-born architect Dame Zara Hadid dies at 65

Published March 31st, 2016 - 23:01 GMT

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Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid put her mark on many cities, particularly in the Middle East. Her most acclaimed (and controversial) project is the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium in Doha. Spot her shape-shifting magic in Abu Dhabi's Sheik Zayed Bridge and her Performing Arts Center on Saadiyat Island (being built). See Riyadh's King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, and the Central Bank of Iraq in her Baghdad hometown.

She passed away today in a Miami hospital. Read our tribute to this volcanic force of nature. Godspeed Dame Hadid. Continue reading below »

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Born in Baghdad to an affluent secular family, her UK-educated dad was a founder of the Iraqi National Democratic party. Encouraged to pursue a career, she told CNN, 'When I was [a girl], math was a part of life, and drawing, music and books. My parents instilled a passion for discovery, and never made a distinction between science and creativity.'
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Image 1 of 13:  1 / 13Born in Baghdad to an affluent secular family, her UK-educated dad was a founder of the Iraqi National Democratic party. Encouraged to pursue a career, she told CNN, "When I was [a girl], math was a part of life, and drawing, music and books. My parents instilled a passion for discovery, and never made a distinction between science and creativity."

Enlarge
Hadid studied at American University Beirut, earning a BSc in Mathematics (1971), then attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture London (1977). After founding her own practice she returned to academia with stints at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1986) and Columbia University (1994).
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Image 2 of 13:  2 / 13Hadid studied at American University Beirut, earning a BSc in Mathematics (1971), then attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture London (1977). After founding her own practice she returned to academia with stints at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1986) and Columbia University (1994).

Enlarge
Hadid's first job was with her former professor Rem Koolhaas at his firm OMA in Rotterdam. She became a partner in 1977, and six years on won her first global competition for design of a Hong Kong leisure center, shown here, with a £100,000 prize. The project was never built, but she used the funds to set up her own London-based practice.
Reduce

Image 3 of 13:  3 / 13Hadid's first job was with her former professor Rem Koolhaas at his firm OMA in Rotterdam. She became a partner in 1977, and six years on won her first global competition for design of a Hong Kong leisure center, shown here, with a £100,000 prize. The project was never built, but she used the funds to set up her own London-based practice.

Enlarge
Her first building was a fire station near the German-Swiss border for furniture company Vitra, comprised of a series of irregular angles, reflecting her oft-quoted belief that 'there are 360 degrees, so why restrict yourself to just one?' It presaged her tendency toward deconstructivism and gravity defying forms. (Image: archdaily)
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Image 4 of 13:  4 / 13Her first building was a fire station near the German-Swiss border for furniture company Vitra, comprised of a series of irregular angles, reflecting her oft-quoted belief that "there are 360 degrees, so why restrict yourself to just one?" It presaged her tendency toward deconstructivism and gravity defying forms. (Image: archdaily)

Enlarge
Most of her early projects remained only as concepts, causing her to be labelled a “paper architect”, because of her failure to get designs built. In 1994, following completion of the Vitra Fire Station, she emerged from theorist to practitioner, soon finding huge demand for her neofuturistic style and fragmented geometry.
Reduce

Image 5 of 13:  5 / 13Most of her early projects remained only as concepts, causing her to be labelled a “paper architect”, because of her failure to get designs built. In 1994, following completion of the Vitra Fire Station, she emerged from theorist to practitioner, soon finding huge demand for her neofuturistic style and fragmented geometry.

Enlarge
'I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels, now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape with contemporary cities. I don't think that architecture is only about shelter,  It should excite you, calm you and make you think,' she told The Guardian. She pushed boundaries. (Image: jebiga.com)
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Image 6 of 13:  6 / 13"I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels, now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape with contemporary cities. I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, It should excite you, calm you and make you think," she told The Guardian. She pushed boundaries. (Image: jebiga.com)

Enlarge
Influenced by her Islamic roots, see fluidity and ornamentation in her Riyadh metro station. But she didn't defer to tradition. “Architecture should reflect where we live at this moment. We don't live in the same way we did 3,000 years ago. Heritage is about change. We shouldn't become some kind of frozen edifice,” she said in a 2014 interview.
Reduce

Image 7 of 13:  7 / 13Influenced by her Islamic roots, see fluidity and ornamentation in her Riyadh metro station. But she didn't defer to tradition. “Architecture should reflect where we live at this moment. We don't live in the same way we did 3,000 years ago. Heritage is about change. We shouldn't become some kind of frozen edifice,” she said in a 2014 interview.

Enlarge
She believed architecture should reflect the world we live in, not dwell on the past.  She ridiculed Middle East architects whose work slavishly mimics historical Islamic architecture. That said, she was the primary patron of the the Victoria and Albert's Jameel Prize, a biennial award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.
Reduce

Image 8 of 13:  8 / 13She believed architecture should reflect the world we live in, not dwell on the past. She ridiculed Middle East architects whose work slavishly mimics historical Islamic architecture. That said, she was the primary patron of the the Victoria and Albert's Jameel Prize, a biennial award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.

Enlarge
As designer for a sports stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, she came under attack for the inhumane work conditions imposed on migrant workers in host city, Doha.  She acknowledged the serious problem with migrant construction worker fatalities, but insisted it was a problem for Qatari government to solve.
Reduce

Image 9 of 13:  9 / 13As designer for a sports stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, she came under attack for the inhumane work conditions imposed on migrant workers in host city, Doha. She acknowledged the serious problem with migrant construction worker fatalities, but insisted it was a problem for Qatari government to solve.

Enlarge
Global prize panels loved her. In 2004 she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's 'Nobel Prize'. She twice won the Stirling Prize, in 2010-11. In 2012, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2014, she won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award, another female first.
Reduce

Image 10 of 13:  10 / 13Global prize panels loved her. In 2004 she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's 'Nobel Prize'. She twice won the Stirling Prize, in 2010-11. In 2012, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2014, she won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award, another female first.

Enlarge
Design site DEZEEN reported on Hadid's new collection of silver jewelry for Danish design house Georg Jensen. Readers were critical. One wrote, 'This is the same reason why her building renderings are always from above. In her work the specific function, context and relationship to the user are secondary to the form itself.'
Reduce

Image 11 of 13:  11 / 13Design site DEZEEN reported on Hadid's new collection of silver jewelry for Danish design house Georg Jensen. Readers were critical. One wrote, "This is the same reason why her building renderings are always from above. In her work the specific function, context and relationship to the user are secondary to the form itself."

Enlarge
Hadid was not in a committed relationship to architecture. She also designed spectacular interiors. She designed the stage set for the 1999 world tour of The Pet Shop Boys. She designed furniture. Her gorgeous rippled-water tables - nominated for a 2013 Design of the Year - sold for about $375,000!
Reduce

Image 12 of 13:  12 / 13Hadid was not in a committed relationship to architecture. She also designed spectacular interiors. She designed the stage set for the 1999 world tour of The Pet Shop Boys. She designed furniture. Her gorgeous rippled-water tables - nominated for a 2013 Design of the Year - sold for about $375,000!

Enlarge
In 2013, Hadid was listed as one of the 50 best-dressed 'over 50s' by the Guardian. Three years on, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. She was a prolific painter (self-portrait shown here), she was childless and unmarried, but she has said that her career has provided personal fulfillment.
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Image 13 of 13:  13 / 13In 2013, Hadid was listed as one of the 50 best-dressed 'over 50s' by the Guardian. Three years on, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. She was a prolific painter (self-portrait shown here), she was childless and unmarried, but she has said that her career has provided personal fulfillment.

Enlarge

1

Born in Baghdad to an affluent secular family, her UK-educated dad was a founder of the Iraqi National Democratic party. Encouraged to pursue a career, she told CNN, 'When I was [a girl], math was a part of life, and drawing, music and books. My parents instilled a passion for discovery, and never made a distinction between science and creativity.'

Image 1 of 13Born in Baghdad to an affluent secular family, her UK-educated dad was a founder of the Iraqi National Democratic party. Encouraged to pursue a career, she told CNN, "When I was [a girl], math was a part of life, and drawing, music and books. My parents instilled a passion for discovery, and never made a distinction between science and creativity."

2

Hadid studied at American University Beirut, earning a BSc in Mathematics (1971), then attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture London (1977). After founding her own practice she returned to academia with stints at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1986) and Columbia University (1994).

Image 2 of 13Hadid studied at American University Beirut, earning a BSc in Mathematics (1971), then attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture London (1977). After founding her own practice she returned to academia with stints at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1986) and Columbia University (1994).

3

Hadid's first job was with her former professor Rem Koolhaas at his firm OMA in Rotterdam. She became a partner in 1977, and six years on won her first global competition for design of a Hong Kong leisure center, shown here, with a £100,000 prize. The project was never built, but she used the funds to set up her own London-based practice.

Image 3 of 13Hadid's first job was with her former professor Rem Koolhaas at his firm OMA in Rotterdam. She became a partner in 1977, and six years on won her first global competition for design of a Hong Kong leisure center, shown here, with a £100,000 prize. The project was never built, but she used the funds to set up her own London-based practice.

4

Her first building was a fire station near the German-Swiss border for furniture company Vitra, comprised of a series of irregular angles, reflecting her oft-quoted belief that 'there are 360 degrees, so why restrict yourself to just one?' It presaged her tendency toward deconstructivism and gravity defying forms. (Image: archdaily)

Image 4 of 13Her first building was a fire station near the German-Swiss border for furniture company Vitra, comprised of a series of irregular angles, reflecting her oft-quoted belief that "there are 360 degrees, so why restrict yourself to just one?" It presaged her tendency toward deconstructivism and gravity defying forms. (Image: archdaily)

5

Most of her early projects remained only as concepts, causing her to be labelled a “paper architect”, because of her failure to get designs built. In 1994, following completion of the Vitra Fire Station, she emerged from theorist to practitioner, soon finding huge demand for her neofuturistic style and fragmented geometry.

Image 5 of 13Most of her early projects remained only as concepts, causing her to be labelled a “paper architect”, because of her failure to get designs built. In 1994, following completion of the Vitra Fire Station, she emerged from theorist to practitioner, soon finding huge demand for her neofuturistic style and fragmented geometry.

6

'I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels, now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape with contemporary cities. I don't think that architecture is only about shelter,  It should excite you, calm you and make you think,' she told The Guardian. She pushed boundaries. (Image: jebiga.com)

Image 6 of 13"I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels, now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape with contemporary cities. I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, It should excite you, calm you and make you think," she told The Guardian. She pushed boundaries. (Image: jebiga.com)

7

Influenced by her Islamic roots, see fluidity and ornamentation in her Riyadh metro station. But she didn't defer to tradition. “Architecture should reflect where we live at this moment. We don't live in the same way we did 3,000 years ago. Heritage is about change. We shouldn't become some kind of frozen edifice,” she said in a 2014 interview.

Image 7 of 13Influenced by her Islamic roots, see fluidity and ornamentation in her Riyadh metro station. But she didn't defer to tradition. “Architecture should reflect where we live at this moment. We don't live in the same way we did 3,000 years ago. Heritage is about change. We shouldn't become some kind of frozen edifice,” she said in a 2014 interview.

8

She believed architecture should reflect the world we live in, not dwell on the past.  She ridiculed Middle East architects whose work slavishly mimics historical Islamic architecture. That said, she was the primary patron of the the Victoria and Albert's Jameel Prize, a biennial award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.

Image 8 of 13She believed architecture should reflect the world we live in, not dwell on the past. She ridiculed Middle East architects whose work slavishly mimics historical Islamic architecture. That said, she was the primary patron of the the Victoria and Albert's Jameel Prize, a biennial award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.

9

As designer for a sports stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, she came under attack for the inhumane work conditions imposed on migrant workers in host city, Doha.  She acknowledged the serious problem with migrant construction worker fatalities, but insisted it was a problem for Qatari government to solve.

Image 9 of 13As designer for a sports stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, she came under attack for the inhumane work conditions imposed on migrant workers in host city, Doha. She acknowledged the serious problem with migrant construction worker fatalities, but insisted it was a problem for Qatari government to solve.

10

Global prize panels loved her. In 2004 she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's 'Nobel Prize'. She twice won the Stirling Prize, in 2010-11. In 2012, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2014, she won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award, another female first.

Image 10 of 13Global prize panels loved her. In 2004 she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's 'Nobel Prize'. She twice won the Stirling Prize, in 2010-11. In 2012, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2014, she won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award, another female first.

11

Design site DEZEEN reported on Hadid's new collection of silver jewelry for Danish design house Georg Jensen. Readers were critical. One wrote, 'This is the same reason why her building renderings are always from above. In her work the specific function, context and relationship to the user are secondary to the form itself.'

Image 11 of 13Design site DEZEEN reported on Hadid's new collection of silver jewelry for Danish design house Georg Jensen. Readers were critical. One wrote, "This is the same reason why her building renderings are always from above. In her work the specific function, context and relationship to the user are secondary to the form itself."

12

Hadid was not in a committed relationship to architecture. She also designed spectacular interiors. She designed the stage set for the 1999 world tour of The Pet Shop Boys. She designed furniture. Her gorgeous rippled-water tables - nominated for a 2013 Design of the Year - sold for about $375,000!

Image 12 of 13Hadid was not in a committed relationship to architecture. She also designed spectacular interiors. She designed the stage set for the 1999 world tour of The Pet Shop Boys. She designed furniture. Her gorgeous rippled-water tables - nominated for a 2013 Design of the Year - sold for about $375,000!

13

In 2013, Hadid was listed as one of the 50 best-dressed 'over 50s' by the Guardian. Three years on, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. She was a prolific painter (self-portrait shown here), she was childless and unmarried, but she has said that her career has provided personal fulfillment.

Image 13 of 13In 2013, Hadid was listed as one of the 50 best-dressed 'over 50s' by the Guardian. Three years on, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. She was a prolific painter (self-portrait shown here), she was childless and unmarried, but she has said that her career has provided personal fulfillment.

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