ICON

Re­mem­ber­ing star­chi­tect Zaha Hadid.

Belle - - Belle Promotion - Words JEAN WRIGHT

Farewell to an ex­cep­tional ar­chi­tect who forged a soar­ing curve in the glass ceil­ing.

As news spread of the un­ex­pected and un­timely death of Zaha Hadid, aged 65, from a heart at­tack in a Miami hos­pi­tal on March 31, the trib­utes poured in. Re­garded by many as one of the great­est ar­chi­tects of her gen­er­a­tion, Dame Zaha Mo­ham­mad Hadid, DBE was the rst woman to win the Pritzker Prize (2004) and the RIBA Gold Medal (2016). In the words of Bri­tish ar­chi­tect and friend Amanda Levete, she was “an ex­tra­or­di­nary role model for women … fear­less and a trail­blazer”. Dutch ar­chi­tect Rem Kool­haas de­scribed her as a “com­bi­na­tion of beauty and strength, in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous and funny”.

Born in Bagh­dad in 1950, ed­u­cated in Beirut, Zaha stud­ied ar­chi­tec­ture at Lon­don’s Ar­chi­tec­tural As­so­ci­a­tion in the 70s. She was tu­tored by Kool­haas and worked with him be­fore set­ting up Zaha Hadid Ar­chi­tects in 1979. Pa­trik Schu­macher be­came a part­ner in 1988 and the prac­tice now em­ploys 400.

Zaha’s rst ma­jor build­ing to gain in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion was the Vi­tra re sta­tion in Weil Am Rhein, Ger­many (1994) with its pointy awning that is quite dif­fer­ent from her later more uid work.

Sub­se­quent no­table projects would have to in­clude the 2005 Phaeno Sci­ence Cen­tre in Wolfs­burg, Ger­many – signi cant for her use of self-com­pact­ing concrete that made its an­gles, curves and pro­tru­sions achiev­able – the Guangzhou opera house (2010) that has put the Chi­nese city on the map and the River­side Mu­seum of Trans­port in Glas­gow (2012) with its zigzag roof of zinc as well as the Aquat­ics Cen­tre for Lon­don’s 2012 Olympics.

One of her last com­pleted build­ings is the 2015 Mess­ner Moun­tain Mu­seum, with its part buried, part can­tilevered view­ing plat­form at the top of the Alpine peak of Mount Kron­platz in Italy’s Dolomites.

In­evitably there were dis­ap­point­ments – in 1994 she won a competition to de­sign Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales but it was never built due to lo­cal prej­u­dices. More re­cently, her de­sign for the Tokyo Olympics sta­dium was con­tro­ver­sially dropped. The Hey­dar Aliyev Cen­ter in Baku, Azer­bai­jan, with its swoop­ing wave-like curves is one of her most re­cent and im­por­tant jobs, but also brought hurt­ful crit­i­cism over hu­man rights is­sues in the for­mer Soviet state and oil­rich but rel­a­tively poor coun­try.

At the time of her death Zaha Hadid Ar­chi­tects had nu­mer­ous projects reach­ing com­ple­tion and a mixed-use tower pro­posed for down­town Mel­bourne that is cur­rently be­fore coun­cil.

Zaha’s in­ter­ests spanned fash­ion to in­dus­trial de­sign. She dressed in her own un­classi able way – often in Issey Miyake. Her small-scale de­signs in­clude a stun­ning cuff bracelet for Ge­org Jensen launched days be­fore her death, a be­spoke 3D-printed shoe for United Nude and var­i­ous fur­ni­ture col­lab­o­ra­tions – all em­braced new tech­nolo­gies and echoed her gen­eral ap­proach to de­sign.

Above all Zaha was an ar­chi­tect – and a brave, rad­i­cal one at that. To quote Mar­cus Fairs, Dezeen’s ed­i­tor-in-chief: “She left us ahead of time – but she did ev­ery­thing ahead of time. Many of us weren’t ready for her ar­rival; none of us were ready for her de­par­ture”. zaha-hadid.com

Clock­wise from top left The pro­posed Collins Street tower, Mel­bourne. Dame Zaha Hadid. Mess­ner Moun­tain Mu­seum. Phaeno Sci­ence Cen­tre in Ger­many. ‘Liq­uid Gla­cial’ ta­ble at David Gill Gallery, Lon­don. ‘Lamel­lae’ cu for Ge­org Jensen. Hey­dar Aliyev Cen­ter, Azer­bai­jan. Vi­tra …re sta­tion. ‘Flames’ 3D-printed shoe.

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