Born in Baghdad, Zaha started her studies in mathematics in Lebanon (that’s where I’m from, hi fam). She then travelled to London at the tender age of 22 to again attend school and start her studies and legacy in architecture.
However, in the beginning, things weren’t easy for Zaha. Her radical designs meant it took more than ten years for her to be recognised. To me, that’s the true mark of a great artist, persisting through the struggle and never defaulting to the ‘normal’.
Due to her avant-garde nature, Zaha began to become known as a ‘paper architect’, as her designs were rarely moving past the sketch phase. However, her first major project, the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, changed all that.
Vitra Fire Station.
Zaha’s next success was the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Ohio. The first American museum designed by a woman. The museum opened in 2003, designed as a series of cubes and voids, with the intention to invite passerby’s to come inside. About the building, Zaha said she hoped this would create an “urban carpet” that welcomed people in.
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art.
In addition to winning the Pritzker Prize in 2004 and being the recipient of many other awards, Zaha also found her way into fashion design. In shoes. ‘The Flame’ pictured below has become one of her most iconic creations. Seriously, can we all just appreciate the architecture of these heels for a moment?
‘She was truly a pioneer’ said Pritzker Architecture Prize foundation. She will be missed. But, her legacy will continue through the One Thousand Museum Hotel. One of the final projects designed by the legend Zaha Hadid.
One Thousand Museum Hotel.