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Zaha Hadid

Iraqi-British Architect and Painter

Zaha Hadid Photo

Born: October 31, 1950 - Baghdad, Iraq

Died: March 31, 2016 - Florida, United States

"The idea is not to have any 90-degree angles. In the beginning, there was the diagonal. The diagonal comes from the idea of the explosion, which 're-forms' the space. This was an important discovery."

Summary of Zaha Hadid

First woman to break the glass ceiling of the "Starchitect" universe, dwelling amongst greats such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid's pioneering vision challenged notions of what could be achieved in building. Coined the "Queen of the Curve," her highly inventive designs liberated architecture from its traditional treatment of concrete and steel and introduced radical new ways to envision spaces in synchronicity with their surroundings. With a foundation in painting and the utilization of progressive digital technologies, Hadid's creativity was unbound by existing typologies and her innovative approach helped shift the geometry of buildings toward a radical new aesthetic.

Key Ideas

Before ever seeing one of her designs realized as a physical building, Hadid's architectural drawings and paintings were gaining her international acclaim. Through wildly imaginative and intricate abstractions, she was already questioning the idea that a building was merely a solid mass, paying attention to the relationships between its individual elements.
Although not aligned with any particular school, much of Hadid's work has been linked to Deconstructivism in its sculptural treatment of architecture as a container for interconnective spaces, dramatic untraditional angles, and volumes bursting with many little pieces. In this way, her realized buildings echoed her earlier paintings.
Her consistency with questioning the status quo led Hadid toward the development of new digital techniques that allowed her to depart from the standard horizontals and verticals and to reimagine the structural engineering of bold new forms. Her firm would coin the term Parametricism to define this signature look and feel.
Hadid's position as a world-renowned architect dedicated to her career above all else was further emphasized by the fact that she was a woman and a Muslim. Bold, unapologetic, and progressive, she helped bash stereotypes while infiltrating a field that had largely held a longstanding reputation as a male-held profession.
Hadid's futuristic design for The Library and Learning Center on the Campus of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

When British journalist Simon Hattenstone met Zaha Hadid at her east London home, he compared her to the Queen of Hearts, roaring “off with their heads” at her subordinates. “She is a fantastic monster, uncompromising dictator of her own wonderland, and one of the world's great architects,” he wrote.

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