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Tributes flood in for Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid
  • 1 Comment

The profession has shared its tributes to ‘visionary architect’ Zaha Hadid who died earlier today (March 31) aged just 65

Hadid died of a heart attack in a hospital in Miami where she was being treated for bronchitis.

Her sudden death has shocked the profession, with many taking to social media to express their thoughts on the ‘inspirational’ architect.

V&A design director David Bickle tweeted: ‘RIP Zaha Hadid who will be remembered as much for her speculations as built work’.

Open City director and past AJ editor Rory Olcayto tweeted: ‘Sad news. Zaha Hadid has died. So, so sad. A brilliant architect and a charming woman.’

The tweets were also followed by an outpouring of tributes from leading industry figures.

This year’s Jane Drew Prize-winner Odile Decq praised Hadid for ‘opening up doors for so many women in architecture’, while RIBA president Jane Duncan, added: ‘She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, that delight and astound people all around the world.’


David Adjaye, founder, Adjaye Associates

‘The rise of Zaha Hadid has been an uplifting, inspirational story, and I have long delighted in following her architecture and her work. She created a new language of form, drawing on her own force of spirit and distinct vision – her indomitable character – so present in her buildings. Her sudden and untimely departure leaves a chasm in the profession. She will be missed for her wit, her fearless bearing, her warmth and of course her brilliance – although I have no doubt that her work offers a valuable legacy that will continue to inspire and delight us as this century unfolds.’

The world of architecture has lost a star

Jane Duncan, RIBA president

‘This is absolutely terrible news. Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being. Visionary and highly experimental, her legacy despite her young age, is formidable. She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, that delight and astound people all around the world. It was only last month that I had the enviable task of awarding Zaha the 2016 Royal Gold Medal for architecture – she was delighted to receive the recognition and adds the medal to an amazing collection of awards, not least winning the RIBA Stirling Prize two years running. The world of architecture has lost a star today.’

Bob Sheil, director, The Bartlett School of Architecture

‘The world has lost a true visionary. She was an extraordinary artist. Her work has become associated with technology, but really it extends from her experiments with drawing, painting and space. She was way ahead of her time; always ahead of her time.’

Odile Decq, founder, Studio Odile Decq

‘The first Grande Dame de l’architecture and a great figure in many ways. She has opened so many doors for women in architecture. She has become free and without any fear after having been forced to fight against sexist attitudes. Her architecture reveals her own freedom.’

John McAslan, executive chairman, John McAslan + Partners

’This is devastating and tragic news. Zaha Hadid was a phenomenal force in the world of architecture. An incredible character – brilliant, fearless, and irreplaceable.’

Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation

’Zaha represented the highest aspirations of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She combined her vision and intellect with a force of personality that left no room for complacency. She made a real difference.’ 

Peter Palumbo, chair of the jury of the Pritzker Architecture Prize

‘The world of culture has lost a standard-bearer for the art of architecture. Zaha Hadid fought prejudice all her life with great success. And this, in addition to her genius as an architect, will secure her legacy for all time.’

Sally Stewart, reader and deputy head, Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art

’The news of Zaha Hadid’s death is very shocking and unexpected. 

’Zaha was one of the most significant architects of our time, not only for the architecture she conceived of and aspired to produce, but also for her sheer force of will in challenging the expectations of the architecture a woman might produce. 

’Elegant, impossible, often difficult, her work always provoked a response, and experiencing it at first hand was often surprising and rewarding. 

’Perhaps more than anyone else today she has inspired more students to study architecture and to imagine design and architecture differently. 

’The RIBA Gold Medal award to her reflects her position both in the UK and internationally, and goes some way to recognise the influence she has had in changing the language of architectural form. 

‘Our wishes must be with her colleagues and family, with the hope that they will be able to continue to realise her ideas and consolidate her legacy.’

Ken Shuttleworth, founder, Make

’A light has gone out in the world of architecture. Zaha was a vibrant, distinctive and innovative woman whose personality and incredible body of work have left an indelible footprint on the world. Her legacy speaks for itself, and the design world will be distinctly dulled by her loss. She was a trailblazer in all respects, from creating wholly new forms to breaking through the glass ceiling, leading the way for so many to follow. Her many impressive accolades and international recognition speak to her legendary talent, passion and drive. I know I speak for many when I say her absence will be felt deeply.’

Hanif Kara of AKTII

’It is devastating. Her work will speak for itself. I will miss Zaha’s generosity, kindness and mischief. We all owe her so much for making the world a better place than she found it. Only great people can do that.’

Azar Djamali, architect

‘Zaha Hadid was an ordinary woman who became an architect and as a woman architect fought like a warrior with her intelligence, intuition and dedication to architecture throughout her life . She succeeded in becoming the Great Queen of Architecture - Zaha deserves to be remembered for ever.’

Signy Svalastoga, head of school of architecture, Cass Faculty of Art Architecture & Design

’I am really saddened by the news that we have lost Zaha. I had the great fortune to work closely with her between 1988 and 1992, a formative period in her office and for me personally. I was taken back to all those memories recently when listening to her Desert Island Disks. She was inspirational, exacting, intelligent, generous, warm and funny. RIP.’

Wolf Prix

’Zaha is the diamond of architecture. Radically bright and flowing at the same time, her architecture is a glimpse into an optimistic future. With her calligraphic designs and buildings, Zaha broke the boundaries of architecture and opened up new terrain. Form and program, content and shape were, are, and will remain her legacy. Thank you, Zaha, you were a generous friend.’

Dara Huang, founder, Design Haus Liberty

’This is such a tragic loss of an inspirational icon not only for women in architecture but also as a historical icon for the leaps and bounds she’s redefined in the field. She’s a true visionary so strong willed and changed the world forever as we see it today.’



  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Felix Mara

    What an immense vacuum Zaha leaves behind her! Many followed, some ruminated, but Zaha led.

    Felix Mara

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