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Zaha Hadid (1950 - 2016)

Zaha Hadid

Royal Gold Medal winner Zaha Hadid has died, aged 65

The award-winning architect died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of this morning (31 March). She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a heart attack while being treated in hospital.

Widely regarded as the greatest female architect in the world today, Iraqi-born Hadid became the first woman to be the sole recipient of the 167-year-old Royal Gold Medal earlier this year.

Hadid, described by RIBA president Jane Duncan as a ‘formidable and globally influential force in architecture’, won the Stirling Prize in both 2010 and 2011 with her MAXXI Museum in Rome and the Evelyn Grace Academy in London respectively.

Born in Baghdad in 1950, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before beginning her architectural studies at the Architectural Association in 1972.

She joined her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, where she became a partner in 1977.

Hadid set up her practice in London in 1979, but didn’t get the chance to build a major project until the early 1990s, when she designed the Vitra fire station in Germany.

She went on to design the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, and the Guangzhou Opera House in China.

Her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, now employs more than 418 people around the world.

In 2004 Hadid became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. Her other awards include the Jane Drew Prize, Japan’s Praemium Imperiale and France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012.

AJ editor-in-chief Christine Murray commented:This is a tragic loss of a master who redefined architecture and its possibilities. We mourn all that Zaha had yet to bring.’








Readers' comments (6)

  • Very sad news, a rare woman leader in the vanguard - determined and strong willed but also fair and balanced. Architecture is a challenging environment to work in even more so for women. Working with her and her team in the early days of the London Aquatics Centre was a privilege.

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  • R.I.P
    Great loss.

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  • A truly remarkable Architect - gave the profession a new language and an incredible vitality to the profession- an excellent ambassador . RIP

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  • What a shock! How very sad. An amazing and inspirational Architect.
    R.I.P Zaha. xx

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  • Felix Mara

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

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  • azhar

    a huge loss of an amazing, powerful architect.
    She changed the game forever!

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