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Remembering Zaha: ‘She was a natural star, she always felt special’

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To commemorate one year since Zaha Hadid’s death, the AJ has produced Zaha Hadid: An Architectural Legacy, which visits four of her projects and features interviews with Patrik Schumacher and other close friends

Iraqi-born, double Stirling Prize-winner Hadid was just 65 when she died of a heart attack in a Miami hospital on 31 March 2016.

The new 27-minute documentary includes tributes from her colleagues, friends and those who worked with her on projects many regarded as ‘unbuildable’.

Watch the film

 

Long-term collaborator Schmacher, who has taken over running Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), described her as ’a natural star, she always felt special’.

He said: ’I considered her to be a star within the discipline. Gradually this became more… Vogue, Harpers’ Bazaar, broadsheet papers… that just happened. But she didn’t change much, our relationship didn’t change. She was very approachable – we’re all a big family here.’

Engineer Hanif Kara of AKTII, who worked with Hadid on numerous projects including the 2006 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, said: ‘As she became more famous she expanded the whole palette of design. The fame never really made her big headed. It raised the whole profile of architectural design.’

AJ editor-in-chief Christine Murray praised Zaha for ’expanding the definition of architecture [and] what was conceived as possible’.

She said: ’Those buildings that were once thought of as unbuildable, as concepts, or pieces of art – as they became realised it opened the eyes of clients and the public of what space could be.’

Describing her as ’the most famous architect in the world’, long-time friend Nigel Coates said Hadid was a ’great inspiration’ to the profession because she had been ’courageous, rarely compromised and stuck to her guns.’

Screen shot 2017 03 30 at 16.09.47

Screen shot 2017 03 30 at 16.09.47

Source: Laura Mark/Jim Stephenson

LSE professor Ricky Burdett remembered: ‘There was total dedication in what she believed in. The creativity comes with a psychological strength, which was also touching in the Royal Gold Medal lecture when she showed pictures of, at the age of 12, rearranging her furniture and her mum saying, ”You redecorate your room because you’re going to have your own way”. That was her all the way, right up to the day when she went to Miami and never came back.’

The film was produced by previous AJ architecture editor Laura Mark and filmed by Jim Stephenson.

Vitra Fire Station

Vitrafirestation jimstephenson 5 webres

Vitrafirestation jimstephenson 5 webres

Source: Jim Stephenson

MAXXI

Maxxi jimstephenson 7 webres

Maxxi jimstephenson 7 webres

Source: Jim Stephenson

Aquatics Centre

Aquatics jimstephenson 2 webres

Aquatics jimstephenson 2 webres

Source: Jim Stephenson

The Maths Gallery, Science Museum

Winton jimstephenson 4 webres

Winton jimstephenson 4 webres

Source: Jim Stephenson

 

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