The Eye

“Bold as Brass” Architect Zaha Hadid’s Most Groundbreaking Works

Messner Mountain Museum Corones_photo by Inexhibit
The Messner Mountain Museum Corones in the Northern Italian Alps completed in 2015 was one of Zaha Hadid’s most recent projects.


World-renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid died early Thursday morning in Miami of a heart attack while hospitalized for bronchitis.

Zaha Hadid by Brigitte Lacombe

Zaha Hadid.


Brigitte Lacombe

Born in Baghdad in 1950, Hadid, 65, studied mathematics and established her own practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London in 1979. She became arguably the most prominent female architect in the world, known for her futuristic, dramatic, sweeping use of curves.

03. London Aquatics Centre_photo Hufton+Crow
London Aquatics Centre.


01. London Aquatics Centre_photo Luke Hayes
 London Aquatics Centre.

Luke Hayes

An outspoken critic on the gender inequality faced by women in her profession, she was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She most recently received the prestigious 2016 Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects—the first woman to be awarded the honor in her own right.

01. Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku_photo by Hufton+Crow
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan.


02. Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku_photo by Iwan Baan
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Iwan Baan

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati_photo Roland Halbe
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.

Roland Halbe

01. MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome_photo Iwan Baan
MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome.

Iwan Baan

02. Phaeno Science Centre_photo Werner Huthmacher
Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany.  

Werner Huthmacher

In a statement at the time of the RIBA awards, British architect Sir Peter Cook called Hadid “larger than life” and “bold as brass.” He said of her work: “For three decades now, she has ventured where few would dare: if Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance and then deftly folded them over and then took them out for a journey into space.”

01. DDP, Seoul_photo Virgile Simon Bertrand
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul.

Virgile Simon Bertrand

Hadid first gained international recognition for her 1993 design of the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany. Other notable projects include the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009); the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011); the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan (2013); the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (2003); and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010).

Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein, Germany_photo Christian Richters

Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein, Germany.  


Christian Richters

Some recent work includes a futuristic Russian office building; a stunning museum embedded in the Italian Alps; and her first residential building in New York City, a luxury apartment building along the High Line that is scheduled for completion in early 2017. Hadid’s controversial plan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium was scrapped by the Japanese government last year.

Jockey Club Innovation Tower, at Hong Kong Polytechnic University_photo by Doublespace
The Jockey Club Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  


“Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology,” Hadid’s office said in a statement about her life and work, “which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.”

Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London_photo Luke Hayes
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London.

Luke Hayes

Guangzhou Oprea House, Guangzhou_photo Virgile Simon Bertrand
Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China.

Virgile Simon Bertrand