I Am Ha­did

Indonesia Tatler Homes - - INTERVIEWS -

In mem­ory of the ‘ar­chi­tect diva’ who passed away in March, we take a look at the life and work of an end­lessly cre­ative force. By Ria Iskan­dar

In March this year, the world was shocked to hear the news of the sud­den pass­ing away of the “ar­chi­tect diva” Dame Zaha Ha­did, who suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack. This Iraqi-bri­tish ar­chi­tect was a leg­end in the ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign in­dus­tries, with her name be­com­ing syn­ony­mous with strik­ing struc­tures. In­deed, her work was so suc­cess­ful and vis­ually as­tound­ing that she had be­come just as well known out­side the ar­chi­tec­tural world.

As much as her achieve­ments in the sphere of de­signs and struc­tures, the diva also suc­ceeded—in­deed, ex­celled—in what is tra­di­tion­ally a man’s world. “Women are al­ways told, ‘You’re not go­ing to make it, it’s too dif­fi­cult, you can’t do that, don’t en­ter this com­pe­ti­tion, you’ll never win it.’ They need con­fi­dence in them­selves and peo­ple around them to help them to get on,” she once said, ad­dress­ing the in­equal­i­ties she saw in her own pro­fes­sion as well as the plight of many women with their hearts set on a pro­fes­sional ca­reer. In fact, Ha­did broke many bound­aries: she was the first woman and the first Mus­lim to win the Pritzker Ar­chi­tec­ture Prize in 2004.

Born in 1950, Ha­did stud­ied math­e­mat­ics at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Beirut be­fore mov­ing to London in 1972 and turn­ing her at­ten­tion to ar­chi­tec­ture at the the Ar­chi­tec­tural As­so­ci­a­tion School, from which she grad­u­ated with the Diploma Prize in 1977. Her first no­table col­lab­o­ra­tion was with iconic ar­chi­tects Rem Kool­haas and Elia Zenghe­lis, with whom she be­came a part­ner at the Of­fice for Met­ro­pol­i­tan Ar­chi­tec­ture (OMA) also in 1977. Her work with OMA saw the first of a string of award suc­cesses, with their part­ner­ship in de­sign­ing the new Dutch par­lia­ment build­ing earn­ing a top prize at the Ar­chi­tec­tural De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion in 1978.

Ha­did then carved out a phe­nom­e­nal ca­reer, es­tab­lish­ing her own prac­tice in

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