Zaha Hadid 1950-2016: great architect’s most iconic buildings

Zaha Hadid
Galaxy Soho
Galaxy Soho (2012) Photo: Hufton + Crow

As you will all be aware we have lost a wonderful architect and friend, her family and friends are all devastated by her loss. There will be a service in London on Wednesday 6th April.

Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum
Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum (2012) Photo © Paul Warcho

Thousands of emails of condolence have been sent and we will be collating them all to give to the family so that they can know what a special person Zaha was – if you want to send a message to be included please send it to

Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport
Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport (2011) Photo © Hufton & Crow

Zaha Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. Born in Baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural journey in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London.

Jockey Club Innovation Tower
Jockey Club Innovation Tower (2014) Photo © Doublespace

By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her ground-breaking theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).

BMW Central Building
BMW Central Building (2005) Photo © Hélène Bine

Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology; which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.

Vitra Fire Station
Vitra Fire Station (1993) Photoy © Christian Richter

Zaha Hadid’s first major built commission, one that affirmed her international recognition, was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993); subsequent notable projects including the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013) illustrate her quest for complex, fluid space.

Guangzhou Opera House
Guangzhou Opera House (2011) Photo © Iwan Baan

Buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our ideas of the future with visionary spatial concepts defined by advanced design, material and construction processes.

London Aquatics Centre
London Aquatics Centre (2011) Photo Hufton+Crow

In 2004, Zaha Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize.

MAXXI (2010) Photo © Helene Binet

In 2010 for the MAXXI Museum in Rome, a building for the staging of 21st century art, the distillation of years of experimentation, a mature piece of architecture conveying a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation; and the Evelyn Grace Academy, a unique design, expertly inserted into an extremely tight site. Source by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Heydar Aliyev Centre
Heydar Aliyev Centre (2013) Photo © Iwan Baan

We want to remember her through some images of her works and say to her goodbye,  with the words of some colleagues and great friends as Ben van Berkel: “Zaha was a very great friend and colleague. She was a formidable force and influence within the profession. Her strength and determination were second to none and what she has done for women in architecture will never be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, her studio at this incredibly difficult time.”

Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (2013) Photo © Virgile Simon Bertrand

Steven Holl: “Zaha was a great friend since we first met at the Architectural Association in London in 1976. Last week she came to New York and we celebrated 40 years of friendship. She was an amazingly original spirit in architecture and her energy will live on through her incredible buildings. We will miss her deeply.”

Library and Learning Centre
Library and Learning Centre (2013) Photo via Wikipedia

MVRDV: “It is with deep sadness that we heard the news about the death of Zaha Hadid, an architect who had such a profound effect in our field. She was the swoosh of architecture, a role model for generations of architects, a unique designer whose unprecedented influences stretched right across the globe. We’d like to thank her for her contributions, for the inspiration and for doing all that she did for the architecture world.”

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