Zaha Hadid, how an arabian iraqi woman who nobody trusted in her ability became one of the famous and powerful architects of the world.

Zaha Hadid 1950 – 2016

Zaha Hadid, an Arabian Iraqi woman born on October 31st, in Baghdad, was the first woman who obtained the Pritzker price in the year 2004.

She designs architecture based on concepts that are out of the ordinary with insane and impossible designs, before she became the first woman who changes the world of architecture, she lost architecture competitions for 17 years.

At the beginning of her study, Zaha Hadid wanted to become a mathematician when studying at the American University of Beirut. But over time she discovered her passion for forms and shapes, and when she decided to enter the world of architecture, she continued her studies in London.

Rem Koolhaas, the famous Dutch architect was the mentor of Zaha Hadid, he believed in her talent, describe her as the unique planet of architecture in her own orbit.

When she graduated from university, her mentor Rem Koolhaas invited her to work with him in Rotterdam, after three years working with her mentor, she felt that she can open her own independent company, so she returned to London to follow her dream.

When she entered the world of architecture and worked on a lot of projects and buildings for almost two decades, she got rejected and criticized many times, even she was called a “paper architect”, although she made a lot of ideas and concepts but all of her ideas got rejected.

Her projects won a lot of international competitions, she put a lot of amazing and new ideas but it stayed on paper because they considered her projects were impossible to be realized, but she continued to design these same concepts of buildings, hoping one day the architecture world make a new step to another way of thinking.

In the early eighties of the last century, one of Zaha’s projects was accepted, the project was located in the mountains of hong kong, it was a sports complex, one year after, the project was canceled by the client.

After a while, she opened her own office which became a great empire of architecture after three decades, the office is named Zaha Hadid Architects, due to her ability, hard work, and persistence she continued to design many masterpieces in the world of architecture.

The first successful project of Zaha Hadid was a fire station built in 1993 when she was 44 years old.

Vitra fire station

After all these years, Zaha Hadid’s first building was finally realized, a masterpiece, a fire station for Vitra company, the building was really unique, it represents a new concept in the architecture’s world, a building that has curved shapes, adding to these shapes a concrete material to complete the design with such an amazing homogeneity.

In the same year when she builds a fire station for Vitra company, the local feminist community that defends women’s right to express themselves in the world of architecture in Germany, they supported Zaha Hadid when she designed a building called the IBA house.

IBA House

Zaha left some masterpieces of her work in Russia, the first building located in the middle of a forest outside of Moscow, near the Rublevo-Uspenskoe highway, built for the Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin, named the spaceship house or the futuristic mansion, the only private house designed by Zaha Hadid.

The futuristic mansion

The second building of Zaha Hadid in Russia is the Moscow business center or dominion office building.

Dominion Office Building

After the success story of her building, she got the Pritzker price but they still criticizing her that the buildings she makes are not functional.

One of Zaha’s famous buildings is the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, by looking at the building you realize Zaha’s concept and design, by looking at the superposition of different walls, sharps corners.

Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati

She won the award of Pritzker, best architect in the world for 2004, and the first woman who won the price, it’s a sort of Nobel price of architecture, thanks to her project the aquatics center in London, such an amazing design, she designed the building and inspired by the fluid geometries of water in motion and the concept of fluidity.

London Aquatics Centre

She was indeed a trendy architect of the world but with a lot of attention comes also a lot of criticizing and negative opinion at her, the architecture community claims that Zaha Hadid was not interested in making buildings more functional and usable for people, and the aquatics center in London was the proof for these claims, some of the spectators in the top of the stands was complaining about the angle of the view, they can’t see what’s happening in the pool of the center because of the ceiling.

Interior space

The same topic with Modern Art Museum MAXXI in Rome also was criticized by the architecture community, they said that the space was not made for exhibiting art because the way they designed the building in a long curved space was not suitable for circulation and it was not easy to place objects there.

MAXXI Museum of modern art in Rome

The main thing that made Zaha Hadid one of the trendy architects in the world is that she thinks outside the box and she breaks the rules of geometry and architecture with curved lines until the guardian called her the “queen of the curve”.

Zaha made her most ideas and ambitions into reality at the beginning and the middle of the 2000s, and she proved that architecture has no limits for imagination.

A lot of her projects was too expensive, they cost a lot of money because most of her projects were huge and full of complex shapes and designs that require a specific type of structures that hold the building like the Dongdaemun design plaza and Heydar Aliyev center, at the same time the world faced an economic crisis in 2008, and during this time they criticized her about spending all the money for more designs and curves to express her imagination while she forgets about spaces and their users, but Zaha still managed to find clients for more projects in China, Europe, and the middle east afford more iconic and expensive buildings to reach the level of the star architecture.

Heydar Aliyev Center
the Dongdaemun design plaza

Zaha did many projects during the 2000s, including galaxy Zoho in Beijing, the University of Hong Kong, and an opera house in Guangzhou, stadiums in Qatar and Japan.

After Zaha Hadid’s death at the age of 65 because of a heart attack, many projects were realized all over the world, the last project she did is 520 west 28th residential complex in New York but she left behind her Zaha Hadid architects office, the office has a lot of talented and professional architects, Patrik Schumacher one of the principal architects in the office, he worked with Zaha Hadid since 1988, so he understands her concepts completely, moreover, Patrik the office continue to implement more of Zaha Hadid unfinished projects like the Changsha Meixihu international culture and art center.