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Zaha Hadid

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Title: Zaha Hadid  
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Subject: BMW Central Building, RIBA European Award, Pritzker Architecture Prize, Contemporary Arts Center, MAXXI
Collection: 1950 Births, Alumni of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, American University of Beirut Alumni, British Architects, British Muslims, British People of Iraqi Descent, British Women Architects, Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Deconstructivism, Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, Harvard University Faculty, Iraqi Architects, Iraqi Designers, Iraqi Emigrants to the United Kingdom, Iraqi Muslims, Iraqi Women Architects, Living People, Naturalised Citizens of the United Kingdom, People from Baghdad, Pritzker Architecture Prize Winners, Recipients of the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, Recipients of the Austrian State Prize, Recipients of the Praemium Imperiale, Stirling Prize Laureates, University of Illinois at Chicago Faculty, Women Architects
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Zaha Hadid

Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck, Austria
BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany
Vitra fire station, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Contemporary Arts Center, Hadid's first United States work in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Phæno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at 547 East Circle Drive, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan USA.
Library and Learning Center (left, architect: Zaha Hadid), Departement 1 and Teaching Center (right, architect: Laura Spinadel)

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, DBE (Arabic: زها حديدZahā Ḥadīd; born 31 October 1950) is an Iraqi-British architect. In 2004 she became the first woman recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.[1] She received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011.[2] In 2012 she was made a dame.[1] In 2014 the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, designed by her, won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award, making her the first woman to win the top prize in that competition.[1] In 2015 she became the first woman to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in her own right.[1]

Her buildings are distinctively neofuturistic, characterised by the "powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures"[3] with "multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life".[4] She is currently professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria.[5]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Teaching 2.1
    • Interior architecture and product design 2.2
    • Architectural work 2.3
      • Conceptual projects 2.3.1
      • Completed projects (selection) 2.3.2
      • Ongoing projects 2.3.3
  • Non-architectural work 3
    • Museum exhibitions 3.1
    • Other work 3.2
  • Criticism 4
    • Qatar controversy 4.1
  • Awards, nominations and recognition 5
    • Other awards and honours 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad. She grew up in one of Baghdad's first Bauhaus-inspired buildings during an era in which "modernism connoted glamour and progressive thinking" in the Middle East.[3]

She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where 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; she became 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. In 1980, she established her own London-based practice. During the 1980s, she also taught at the Architectural Association.

She is a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom.[6][7]



Hadid has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she was the Kenzo Tange Professorship and the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Architecture. She also served as guest professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK Hamburg), the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, the Masters Studio at Columbia University, and the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at the Yale School of Architecture. From 2000 on, Hadid has been a guest professor at The University of Applied Arts – Vienna, in the Zaha Hadid Master Class Vertical-Studio.

Hadid was named an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She has been on the board of trustees of The Architecture Foundation. She is currently professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria.

Interior architecture and product design

Hadid has also undertaken some high-profile interior work, including the Mind Zone at the Lacoste, to create a new, high fashion, and advanced boot.[8] In the same year, she also collaborated with the brassware manufacturer Triflow Concepts[9] to produce two new designs in her signature parametric architectural style.

In 2007, Hadid designed the Moon System Sofa for leading Italian furniture manufacturer B&B Italia.[10]

In 2013, Hadid designed Liquid Glacial, 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. Prototype Liquid Glacial Table | Zaha Hadid at David Gill Galleries

Architectural work

Her architectural design firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs more than 350 people, and is headquartered in a Victorian former school building in Clerkenwell, London.

Conceptual projects

Completed projects (selection)

Riverside Museum Glasgow

Ongoing projects

In 2010, Hadid was commissioned by the Iraqi government to design the new building for the Central Bank of Iraq. An agreement to complete the design stages of the new CBI building was finalized on 2 February 2012, at a ceremony in London.[20] This will be her first project in her native Iraq.[21] Other work includes Pierres Vives, the new departmental records building (to host three institutions, namely, the archive, the library and the sports department), for French department Hérault, in Montpellier.[22]

Hadid's project was named as the best for the Vilnius Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in 2008. She designed the Innovation Tower for Hong Kong Polytechnic University, scheduled for completion in 2013, and the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion that was displayed in Hong Kong in 2008.[23][24][25] She completed a new building for Evelyn Grace Academy in London in 2010.[26]

In 2012, Hadid won an international competition to design a new National Olympic Stadium as part of the successful bid by Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.[27] As the estimated cost of the construction mounted, however, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in July 2015 that Hadid's design would be scrapped in favor of a new bidding process to seek a less expensive alternative.[28] Hadid had planned to enter the new competition, but her firm was unable to meet the new requirement of finding a construction company with which to partner.[29]

Non-architectural work

Museum exhibitions

  • 1978 – Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • 1983 – Retrospective at the Architectural Association, London
  • 1985 – GA Gallery, Tokyo
  • 1988 – Deconstructivist Architecture show at MoMA, New York
  • 1995 – Graduate School of Design at Harvard University
  • 1997 – San Francisco MoMA
  • 2000 – British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
  • 2001 – Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg
  • 2002 – (10 May – 11 August) Centro nazionale per le arti contemporanee, Rome[30]
  • 2003 – (4 May – 17 August) – MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) in Vienna
  • 2006 – (3 June – 25 October) – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • 2006 – (1 June – 29 July) – Ma10 Mx Protetch Gallery, Chelsea, NYC
  • 2007 – (29 June – 25 November) – Design Museum, London
  • 2011/2012 – (20 September 2011 – 25 March 2012) – Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • 2013–(29 June – 29 September) – Zaha Hadid: World Architecture at the Danish Architecture Center[31]
  • 2015 – (27 June – 27 September) – Zaha Hadid at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia[32]

Other work

  • A Day with Zaha Hadid (2004). A 52-minute documentary where Zaha Hadid discusses her current work while taking the camera through her retrospective exhibition "Zaha Hadid has Arrived". Directed by Michael Blackwood.[33]
  • On 2 January 2009, she was the guest editor of the BBC's flagship morning radio news programme, Today.[34]


Hadid’s architectural language has been described as "famously extravagant" with many of her projects sponsored by "dictator states".[35] Rowan Moore described Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center as "not so different from the colossal cultural palaces long beloved of Soviet and similar regimes". Architect Sean Griffiths characterised Hadid's work as "an empty vessel that sucks in whatever ideology might be in proximity to it".[36] Art historian Maike Aden criticises in particular the foreclosure of Zaha Hadid's architecture of the MAXXI in Rome towards the public and the urban life that undermines even the most impressive program to open the museum.[37]

Qatar controversy

As the architect of a distinctive stadium to be used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Hadid defended her involvement in the project, despite revelations relating to the working conditions imposed on migrant workers in Qatar. She acknowledged that there was a serious problem with the number of migrant workers who have died during construction work related to the World Cup. She also said that she believed it was a problem for the Qatari government to resolve.

"I have nothing to do with the workers," said Hadid. "I think that's an issue the government – if there's a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved." Asked if she was concerned, Hadid added: "Yes, but I'm more concerned about the deaths in Iraq as well, so what do I do about that? I'm not taking it lightly but I think it's for the government to look to take care of. It's not my duty as an architect to look at it. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it. I think it's a problem anywhere in the world. But, as I said, I think there are discrepancies all over the world."[38]

In August 2014, Hadid sued the New York Review of Books for defamation for publishing an article which included this quote and allegedly accused her of "showing no concern" for the deaths of workers in Qatar.[39] Immediately thereafter, the reviewer and author of the piece in which she was accused of showing no concern issued a retraction in which he said " did not begin on the site for the Al Wakrah stadium, until two months after Ms Hadid made those comments; and construction is not scheduled to begin until 2015.... There have been no worker deaths on the Al Wakrah project and Ms Hadid's comments about Qatar that I quoted in the review had nothing to do with the Al Wakrah site or any of her projects. I regret the error."[40]

Awards, nominations and recognition

In 2002, Zaha won the international design competition to design Singapore's one-north master plan. In 2005, her design won the competition for the new city casino of Basel, Switzerland.[41]

In 2004, Zaha became the first female and first Muslim[42] recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. 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".[43] In 2010, she was named by Time as an influential thinker in the 2010 TIME 100 issue.[44] In September 2010, the British magazine New Statesman listed Zaha Hadid at number 42 in their annual survey of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010".[45] Hadid was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to architecture.[46][47] She was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.[48] Three years later, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[49]

She won the Stirling Prize two years running: in 2010, for one of her most celebrated works, the Maxxi in Rome,[50] and in 2011 for the Evelyn Grace Academy, a Z‑shaped school in Brixton, London.[51] She is also the designer of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park in Seoul, South Korea, which was the centerpiece of the festivities for the city's designation as World Design Capital 2010. The complex was completed in March 2014.

In 2015 she became the first woman to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in her own right.[1]

In January 2015, she was nominated for the Services to Science and Engineering award at the British Muslim Awards.[52]

Other awards and honours

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Lacoste
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ New York Magazine The Zaha Moment, 14 July 2013
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Bonnie Chen In the frame 25 May 2009 The Standard
  24. ^ PolyU appoints Zaha Hadid as Architect of Innovation Tower 12 December 2007 Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  25. ^ Hadid goes back to Hong Kong Zaha Hadid's Innovation Tower in Hong Kong Friday 14 December 2007 World Architecture
  26. ^ Evelyn Grace Academy: Buildings & facilities
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ (English) (Italian)
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Michael Murphy, "The Poverty of Starchitecture"
  36. ^ Rowan Moore, "Zaha Hadid: queen of the curve". The Observer, 8 September 2013.[1]
  37. ^ Maike Aden: Kunst im Belagerungszustand [ (Engl.: Art under siege)]. In: Urbanophil. Netzwerk für urbane Kultur. Nov. 2014
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Strictly speaking, she is a Muslim"
  43. ^ Forbes: The World's 100 Most Powerful Women
  44. ^ "Time 100 – Thinkers : Zaha Hadid"
  45. ^
  46. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 6. 16 June 2012.
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Power list
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ (French)
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ a b
  57. ^
  58. ^ Originally published by ArchDaily 12 April 2012.
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^

Further reading

  • Seabrook, John. "The Abstractionist – Zaha Hadid's Unfettered Invention". The New Yorker, 21 and 28 December 2009. Pages 112 to 124.

External links

  • Official website
  • Zaha Hadid at Iam Architect
  • Biography
  • Zaha Hadid publications at Archello
  • Zaha Hadid and the MSU Broad Art Museum by the MSUAA Knowledge Network
  • 1000 Museum by Zaha Hadid
  • CityLife Milan: Hadid Tower website
  • Zaha Hadid Architecture map
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