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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.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Zaha Hadid

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (Arabic: زها حديد Zahā Ḥadīd; 31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was an Iraqi architect, artist and designer, recognized as a major figure in architecture of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Hadid studied mathematics as an undergraduate and then enrolled at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1972. In search of an alternative system to traditional architectural drawing, and influenced by Suprematism and the Russian avant-garde, Hadid adopted painting as a design tool and abstraction as an investigative principle to "reinvestigate the aborted and untested experiments of Modernism [...] to unveil new fields of building".

She was described by The Guardian as the "Queen of Curves", who "liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity". Her major works include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum, Rome's MAXXI Museum, and the Guangzhou Opera House. 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 International Airport in Beijing, and the Al Wakrah Stadium (now Al Janoub) in Qatar, a venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Hadid 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 woman to be individually awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Ray Eames and Sheila O'Donnell had previously been awarded it jointly with Charles Eames and John Tuomey respectively).

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Zaha Hadid