Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, DBE 31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was an Iraqi-born British architect. She was the first woman and the first Muslim to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, winning it in 2004. She received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2015 she became the first woman to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in her own right. Hadid liberated architectural geometry with the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life. Considered an icon of neo-futurism, with a formidable personality, her acclaimed work and ground-breaking forms include the aquatic center for the London 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in the U.S., and the Guangzhou, China opera house. On 31 March 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis.
Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq, to an upper-class Muslim family. Her father, Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid, was a wealthy industrialist from Mosul, Iraq. He co-founded the left-liberal al-Ahali group in Iraq in 1932, which was a significant political organisation in the 1930s and 1940s. He was the co-founder of the National Democratic Party in Iraq. Her mother, Wajiha al-Sabunji, was an artist from Mosul. In the 1960s she attended boarding schools in England and Switzerland.
Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving, in 1972, to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. There 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, becoming 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.
Hadid established her own London-based architecture practice in 1980. Her international reputation was greatly enhanced in 1988 by a showing of impressive architecture drawings as part of an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Interior architecture and product design
Hadid also undertook some high-profile interior work, including the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome in London as well as creating fluid furniture installations within the Georgian surroundings of Home House private members club in Marylebone, and the Z.CAR hydrogen-powered, three-wheeled automobile. In 2009 she worked with the clothing brand Lacoste, to create a new, high fashion, and advanced boot.[ In the same year, she also collaborated with the brassware manufacturer Triflow Concepts to produce two new designs in her signature parametric architectural style.
In 2007, Hadid designed Dune Formations for David Gill Gallery and the Moon System Sofa for leading Italian furniture manufacturer B&B Italia. In 2013, Hadid designed Liquid Glacial for David Gill Gallery which comprises a series of tables resembling ice-formations made from clear and coloured acrylic. Their design embeds surface complexity and refraction within a powerful fluid dynamic. The collection was further extended in 2015.
Awards, nominations and recognition
In 2002, Hadid won the international design competition to design Singapore’s one-north master plan. In 2004, Hadid became the first female and first Muslim recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2005, her design won the competition for the new city casino of Basel, Switzerland. In 2006, she was honoured with a retrospective spanning her entire work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; that year she also received an Honorary Degree from the American University of Beirut. In 2008, she ranked 69th on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. In 2010, she was named by Time as an influential thinker in the 2010 TIME 100 issue.