„If you want an easy life, don’t be an architect“ – Zaha Hadid
A few days ago, the world lost one of the most distinguished women, Zaha Hadid – 65-year-old architect passed away in a Miami hospital from a heart attack.
Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman who has boldly stepped into the world of architecture full of men and brought the modern architecture “to her mind.” Zaha Hadid was a person of unique vision, and she used her talents not only in buildings, but also furniture design as well as fashion. She was influential in the upper echelons and was the author of the most expensive projects. Many-times winner, Hadid’s architecture is distinguished with its typical style and forms – her buildings are the most easily recognizable in the whole world. It is worth mentioning that Zaha Hadid is the first woman and the first Muslim architect, who won the highest award for architecture “Pritzker” in 2004 (this is an equivalent of the Nobel Prize for architects). UNESCO named Hadid an “Artist for Peace”. In 2016, she also got RIBA’s (Royal Institute of British Architects) gold medal, which is also a great achievement in the world of architecture. This incredible person managed to occupy a worthy place as a woman in a men-led occupation.
Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad on 31 October 1950, a high-class Muslim family. Her father was a wealthy industrialist, who was actively involved in political activities. In 1932 he was a co-founder of a left-wing liberal political group, which was an important organization in the 1930-40s. He was also a co-founder of the National Democratic Party of Iraq. Hadid’s mother was an artist who had received education in English and Swiss schools. Perhaps that is where the future architect inherited her artistic talent.
First she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut, and then, in 1972 moved to London to study at the Architectural Association School. Here she met professors – Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, with whom she later co-operated at Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
Hadid’s career varies; She functioned as a professor of architecture and tought in various universities, such as Harvard, Illinois, Columbia, Yale and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
Nor was she limited to architecture; She created interior (Mind Zone at London Millennium Dome) and product designs. Her furniture installations are unique with their smooth, transitional forms. Hadid also cooperated with a clothing brand Lacoste to create a new shoe design.
Zaha Hadid founded her own architectural firm “Zaha Hadid Architects” in 1979 with Patrick Schumacher. Today it is one of the leading companies in the world co-operating with other prominent firms and is distinguished with its innovative ideas. With her works it was as if she was conducting experiments in space, trying to go beyond the existing limits and to offer new product to the public. Her designed buildings are well-known and it is difficult to point out any of them. As soon as you look at them, you will realize that they have been worked on in Hadid’s studio.
In 2010, the Iraqi government ordered the architect to design Iraq’s Central Bank building, the was Hadid’s first project in her homeland. The 2012 Olympic Games centre in London (London Aquatics Centre) and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku (Heydar Aliyev Center) reflect the architect’s intention to create a complex, transitional space, which seems to blend with the environment and has no borders. In her buildings it can be seen how futuristic ideas can turn into reality.
The recent past was tense for Zaha Hadid. First, in 2015, as the project’s costs were going up, the winner project of Olympic stadium for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was cancelled. Then the press reported that during the construction of Qatar stadium several people were killed, and there were a number of unpleasant conflicts with the journalists as they demanded the answer from her. She started to answer answer those people who were against her and that’s why she frequently was in the spotlight.
Zaha Hadid is an example for all those women who want to achieve success in the “men’s” profession, and find this impossible. The architect had to overcome a lot of difficulties. Nevertheless, she managed to become one of the most senior architects.
“Yes, I am a feminist because I see all women as smart, gifted and tough.” – Zaha Hadid
Author: Meri Khamkhadze
English Edit: Nutsa Namoradze