1 April 2016

RIP Dame Zaha Hadid ~ Architect

Last night, it was with sadness that I heard on the BBC of the sudden death of the renowned Architect, Dame Zaha Haddid who died of a heart attack.  Zaha Hadid was an Iraqi born British Architect who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015.  Also in 2015, Dame Zaha Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA Gold Medal in her own right.  The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual's or group's substantial contribution to international architecture. It is given for a distinguished body of work rather than for one building, and is therefore not awarded for merely being currently fashionable.   

Dame Zaha Hadid was also awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize and was the first female Architect ever to receive this prize. She also received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. 

 Life and Education

Zaha Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq. She grew up in one of Baghdad's first Bauhaus-inspired buildings during an era in which "modernism connoted glamour and progressive thinking" in the Middle East.
She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where she met Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, and Bernard Tschumi. She worked for her former professors, Koolhaas and Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; she became a partner in 1977.  Through her association with Koolhaas, she met Peter Rice, the engineer who gave her support and encouragement early on at a time when her work seemed difficult.  In 1980, she established her own London-based practice. During the 1980s, she also taught at the Architectural Association.  She was a naturalised citizen of the 
United Kingdom. On 31 March 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis. 


In the mid-1980s, Hadid taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she held the Kenzo Tange Professorship, and at the Architectural Association.  She also held the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Architecture, and served as guest professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK Hamburg), the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, the Masters Studio at Columbia University, and was the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at the Yale School of Architecture. From 2000, Hadid was a guest professor at the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, in the Zaha Hadid Master Class Vertical-Studio.  Hadid was named an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She was on the board of trustees of The Architecture Foundation.

Architectural work

Her architectural design firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs 400 people, and is headquartered in a Victorian former school building in Clerkenwell, London.

Conceptual projects

Completed projects (selection)

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan

Riverside Museum Glasgow, Scotland

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