‘Queen of the curves’ Zaha Hadid dies at 65
Known as the ‘Queen of the Curve’ Hadid was the first woman to win both the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal — two of the biggest architecture awards in the world.
The world is mourning the demise of renowned architect, Dame Zaha, whose captivating, groundbreaking designs have made lasting impressions on humanity and architecture.
The award winning, pioneering Iraqi-British architect had contracted bronchitis and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in a hospital, passed away in Miami, and has died at 65.
Hadid became the first sole female recipient of the Royal Gold Medal for architecture, approved by the Queen and awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), that was the preserve of men since first given in 1848, although women have shared the prize with others on a handful of occasions. Previous winners include Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, IM Pei and Sir David Chipperfield.
In a statement released by her firm – Zaha Hadid Architects read: “It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid died suddenly in Miami early hours of this morning. She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital.
“Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. Born in Baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural journey in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London.
By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her ground-breaking theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).
Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology; which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Hadid’s first major built commission, one that affirmed her international recognition, was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993); subsequent notable projects including the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013) illustrate her quest for complex, fluid space.
“Buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our ideas of the future with visionary spatial concepts defined by advanced design, material and construction processes.
“In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize: in 2010 for the MAXXI Museum in Rome, a building for the staging of 21st century art, the distillation of years of experimentation, a mature piece of architecture conveying a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation; and the Evelyn Grace Academy, a unique design, expertly inserted into an extremely tight site, that shows the students, staff and local residents they are valued and celebrates the school’s specialism throughout its fabric, with views of student participation at every turn.
“Hadid’s other awards included the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Japan’s Praemium Imperiale and in 2012, Zaha Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture.”
She held various academic roles including the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture. Hadid also taught studios at Columbia University, Yale University and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
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