Zaha Hadid
Iraqi-British architect



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Zaha Hadid
Iraqi-British architect
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Date of Birth

October 31, 1950

Date of Death

March 31, 2016

More about Zaha Hadid

ebrowne's picture


Zaha Hadid is an internationally renowned architect, who just happens to also make paintings worthy of the Museum of Modern Art.

Born in 1950, in Baghdad, Iraq, Hadid was never one to simply fit the mold. She was raised during a time that “Baghdad was a cosmopolitan hub of modern ideas, which clearly shaped her upbringing.” She went to boarding schools in England and Switzerland in the 60s, followed by the American University in Beirut, where she studied mathematics. When asked why she didn’t major in architecture, Hadid replied, “I didn’t want to go there because I would have been the only woman in it.” But in 1972, Hadid moved to London where she studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. One of her professors claimed that she was the best student he ever taught and another referred to her as “a planet in her own inimitable orbit” at her graduation. She was offered a position as a partner at her professor, Rem Koolhaus’ firm, but she only stayed for a year. She was, after all, a planet in her own orbit. She began to teach at her alma mater, the Architectural Association and in 1980 started her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects. From there she quickly rose to fame, designing structures like the Olympic Aquatic Center for the 2012 Olympics, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio, and what will be the 2020 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. If there were an Olympics for architecture, she would have gotten gold. Instead she just won the Pritzker Prize, the highest award for architecture out there, and she was the first woman to do so. Another point for Gryffindor!

Hadid, who died of a heart attack in 2016, was known as temperamental and demanding, but also loyal and a genius. She has been the subject of great praise, but also of great criticism. At one point there was a rumor that 1,000 people died in the construction of one of her stadiums. She sued for slander and won, but it was still harsh. She has been accused of being a “paper architect,” meaning that her designs only work on paper, but this was probably because she was smarter than all of the construction engineers. She was also made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, which pretty much blows all negative criticism out of the water. Afterall, who’s going to disagree with the queen.

Painting just happened to be a side gig for Hadid. It was by no means her main talent, but somehow she was just as innovative there as in architecture. In her paintings as well as her plans, “Hadid was aiming not just for one perspective but for five or six perspectives..., joining them together in warped planes that resemble both Cubist paintings and photographs taken through a fish-eye lens.” No doubt artists around the world are throwing fits about the architect in MoMA. But just wait until you see them.



  1. "A Warped Perspective." N.p., 2005. Web. 27 Apr. 2018.
  2. Kimmelman, Michael. "Zaha Hadid, Groundbreaking Architect, Dies At 65." N.p., 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2018.
  3. Seabrook, John. "Zaha Hadid’S Unfettered Architectural Invention | The New Yorker." N.p., 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2018.
  4. "Zaha Hadid On The Perils Of Paper Architecture | Architecture | Agenda | Phaidon." Phaidon. N.p., 2018. Web. 27 Apr. 2018.
  5. "Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) - People - Zaha Hadid Architects." Web. 27 Apr. 2018.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Zaha Hadid

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (Arabic: زها حديدZahā Ḥadīd; 31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was a British Iraqi architect from Baghdad, Iraq.

She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She received the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in February, 2016, the month preceding her death, she became the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

She was described by The Guardian of London as the "Queen of the curve", who "liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity". Her major works include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, Michigan State University's Broad Art Museum in the US, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, the Guangzhou Opera House in China, and the Beijing Daxing International Airport in China. Some of her awards have been presented posthumously, including the statuette for the 2017 Brit Awards. Several of her buildings were still under construction at the time of her death, including the Daxing airport and the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, a venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Zaha Hadid.