Untimely Death of Zaha Hadid Shocks the World of Art and Architecture

March 31, 2016

The news about Zaha Hadid death has shocked the world of architecture and art. This world-renowned architect, probably one of the most respected one in the last couple of decades has suddenly died at the age of 65. She passed away after suffering a heart attack on Thursday in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis. Born in Iraq, Hadid was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in recognition of her work. Since 2012, she was the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, so her official name was Dame Zaha Hadid. Reactions and condolences are coming from all over the world, particularly from her colleagues.

Zaha Hadid death
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan

Reactions to Zaha Hadid Death

A lengthy statement released by her company said: It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE, died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of this morning. She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital. Zaha Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. Leading architect Graham Morrison said: She was so distinct that there isn’t anybody like her. She didn’t fit in and I don’t mean that meanly. She was in a world of her own and she was extraordinary.” Speaking from Mexico, Lord Rogers, the architect of the Pompidou Centre and the Millennium Dome, told the Guardian the news of Hadid’s death She was so distinct that there isn’t anybody like her. She didn’t fit in and I don’t mean that meanly. She was in a world of her own and she was extraordinary. Speaking from Mexico, Lord Rogers, the architect of the Pompidou Centre and the Millennium Dome, told the Guardian the news of Hadid’s death was really, really terrible. He added: She was a great architect, a wonderful woman and wonderful person. Among architects emerging in the last few decades, no one had any more impact than she did. She fought her way through as a woman. She was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. I got involved with her first in Cardiff when the government threw her off the project in the most disgraceful way. She has had to fight every inch of the way. It is a great loss. The London Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted: So sad to hear of death of Zaha Hadid, she was an inspiration and her legacy lives on in wonderful buildings in Stratford and around the world.

Zaha Hadid death
River Side Museum Glasgow

Hadid’s Life

Born in Baghdad in 1950, Zaha Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural study in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London. 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.

Zaha Hadid death
Guangzhou Opera House

Work and Legacy

Renowned for her theoretical work, Zaha Hadid’s designs were so complex that for the first few decades of her practice, many of her more ambitious projects were never completed, even as she gained a dedicated following among colleagues. For her styles, she was often called “Queen of the curve". Her first major commission to be constructed was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in Germany. Her scheme to build the Cardiff Bay opera house was scrapped in the 1990s and she didn’t produce a major building in the UK until she built the transport museum in Glasgow, which was completed in 2011. Other notable projects included the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (2012), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Keyder Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013). Buildings such as the Rosenthal Centre of Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) were also hailed as architecture that transformed ideas of the future.

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Editors’ Tip: Zaha Hadid: The Complete Buildings and Projects

With her most recent commission, Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center, architect Zaha Hadid became the first woman ever to design an American museum. This long awaited frist monograph on one of the world's most important architects collects Hadid's entire oeuvre-more than 80 built and unbuilt projects over 20 years - in one significant volume. Throughout her training at London's Architectural Association, and her work with Rem Koolhaas at OMA, to the establisment of her own worldwide architectural practice, Zaha Hadid has been acclaimed for her vanguard architectonic language. Only a handful of her projects have been built- all to great critical success - and each new project astonishes the world of design with its commitment to revolutionary forms and ideas. The groundbreaking monograph contains Hadid's own striking drawings and paintings, as well as hundreds of sketches, plans, and models.

Editors’ Tip: Hadid: Complete Works 1979 - 2013

Zaha Hadid was a wildly controversial architect whose work remained largely unbuilt for years, despite awards and critical acclaim. Yet in the past decade, Hadid had risen to fame and completed numerous structures like the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, the Glasgow Riverside Museum, and the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan. With her audacious, futuristic designs, Hadid ranks among the elite of world architecture. Born in Baghdad and educated in London, where her practice is based, Hadid had designed radical architecture for over 30 years. This massive TASCHEN monograph, now available in a specially updated and more accessible edition, covers her complete works to date.

Featured Images: Zaha Hadid via Guardian; Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan; Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain. All Images used for illustrative purposes only.