Architecture loses a great name: Zaha Hadid 1950 – 2016

by Tania Wannenburg
Architecture loses a great name ZAHA HADID

WALLS & ROOFS offers our sincere condolences to everyone left behind by Zaha Hadid’s sudden passing. She will be missed, but her legacy will remain alive through her inspiring buildings.

It is with shock that we learnt of the sudden passing of renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, who died suddenly of a heart attack in a Miami hospital on 31 March 2015 at the age of 65. She was being treated for bronchitis.

Known for her dynamic architectural curves, unexpected forms and use of innovative technologies, Hadid created complex, fluid designs. She had a keen interest in the interface between architecture, landscape and geology, and her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, established in 1979 in London, garnered a reputation for ground-breaking theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).

Her style has been hailed as architecture that “transforms ideas of the future, with visionary spatial concepts defined by advanced design, material and construction processes”.

A female pioneer
Widely regarded as the most influential female architect in the world, Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, and more recently the RIBA’s 2016 Royal Gold Medal.

She twice won the United Kingdom’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize – in 2010 for the MAXXI Museum in Rome and in 2011 for the Evelyn Grace Academy in London.

Hadid’s other awards included the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Japan’s Praemium Imperiale and in 2012, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was also an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture.

A tribute
Never mind her gender, the Iraqi-born Hadid was one of the most famous architects practising over the last few decades. Professor Sir Peter Cook, architect, lecturer and writer, wrote these comments about Hadid:

“In our current culture of ticking every box, surely Zaha Hadid succeeds, since (to quote the Royal Gold Medal criteria) she is someone ‘who has made a significant contribution to the theory or practice of architecture, for a substantial body of work rather than for work which is currently fashionable’.

“And surely her work is special. For three decades now, she has ventured where few would dare. If Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance and then deftly folded them over and then took them out for a journey into space.”

Whether her work inspired awe or provoked controversy, Zaha Hadid never failed to make an impression and she will be sorely missed, but her legacy will live on through her many inspiring buildings.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Zaha Hadid Architects for the information and RIBA Comms for the photos provided.

Notable projects
•    Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993).
•    Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003).
•    MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009).
•    Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010).
•    London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011).
•    Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013).

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