The Life of Zaha Hadid

A portrait of Zaha Hadid.

On Thursday 31st March 2016, the news broke that world-renowned British architect Zaha Hadid had passed away. The 65-year-old Iraqi-born designer died of a heart attack in Miami, leaving a legion of shocked and saddened fans behind.

Widely regarded as being the greatest female architect in the world and one of the best architects of the past century, Hadid has made huge movements both in the realms of architecture and design, and as a woman in that typically male-dominated field. The first woman to win the coveted Pritzker Prize in 2004, Hadid has also won the RIBA Stirling Prize twice, the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale. In 2015 she was also awarded the RIBA Gold Medal – the first woman to do so.

Constantly pushing boundaries, Hadid’s talent and contribution to contemporary design is unquestionable, and unrivalled. In 1980, she set up her own practice in London after having studied in the city and a stint working in Rotterdam. Hadid soon made a name for herself, known for her unique, modern and imaginative designs characterised by their dramatic curves and multiple elements.

The work of Zaha Hadid is so vast and all-encompassing that it’s difficult to pinpoint the highlights – but among the most famous are the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Summer Olympics, The Peak in Hong Kong, the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany and the controversial yet-to-be-built stadium for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Heydar Aliyev Center designed by Zaha Hadid.

The Vitra Fire Station designed by Zaha Hadid.

The Messner Mountain Museum Corones designed by Zaha Hadid.

Words by Angharad Jones. Images property of Hufton & Crow, Architectural Review, main image property of Steve Double.

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert