Zaha… Some Kind of Wonderful

A Look Back at Some of the Highlights in the Illustrious Career of an Icon

Zaha Hadid

Most of us probably felt a lot more emotional than we expected once we heard about the passing of Zaha Hadid. I personally felt a sense of loss, not that I was her biggest fan, but rather at the shock that this iconic figure of such ubiquitous influence had met a tragic and untimely end. While architects like Richard Rogers (83) and Frank Gehry (87) continue to propel their careers to greater heights, one can only wonder what would have become of arguably, one of the most prolific architects to ever live.

One thing she certainly did was live and we celebrate her life by looking back at some of the highlights of her career.

1950: Born in Baghdad, Iraq

 archpaper.com
Young Zaha in Rome. archpaper.com

1972: Zaha moves to the UK and enrolls at the Architectural Association (AA) and graduates five years later.

1977: She starts working for newly found practice OMA, under the mentorship of Rem Koolhaas, who had taught her at the AA.

Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas
Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas

1979: She leaves OMA and opens up her own practice, Zaha Hadid Architects as it is still known today.

1983: Zaha is propelled into the spotlight by winning a competition for a Hong Kong hilltop club. The scheme was never realized.

Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid

1987: She spent most of 80’s entering competitions and producing some of the most amazing supermatist paintings inspired by Kazimir Malevich.

1993: Her first building is realised; the Vitra Fire Station in Germany. It showcases some of the seemingly “unbuildable” concepts she was criticized for in the 80’s

Zaha Hadid Architects. Strigio
Zaha Hadid Architects. Strigio

1995: Controversy hits after she wins the competition for Cardiff’s Opera House. The clients decided to withdraw funding after she won the competition; “not once, but three times”.

Cardiff Bay Opera House. Zaha Hadid Architects
Cardiff Bay Opera House. Zaha Hadid Architects

2004: Zaha is awarded architecture’s biggest award; the Prtizker Prize. She is also the first woman to win the award.

2006: She completes the groundbreaking Phaeno Science Centre in Germany and is shortlisted for the Sterling prize. (loses to Richard Rogers)

2009: She completes the MAXXI Museum in Rome and wins the Sterling Prize after being nominated four previous times.

Architectural Record
MAXXI Museum. Architectural Record

2012: Zaha is made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire

2015: She completes the highly celebrated Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku and is awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, becoming the first woman  to win it.

Hufton Crow
Heydar Aliyev Centre. Hufton Crow

2016: Zaha Hadid dies of a heart attack in a hospital in Miami (March 31st)

Rest in Peace