'A visionary architect who leaves a formidable legacy' - Zaha Hadid remembered

Tributes paid to Dame Zaha Hadid who died of a heart attack in a US hospital
'A visionary architect who leaves a formidable legacy' - Zaha Hadid remembered
By Nick Ames
Sun 03 Apr 2016 02:39 PM

Tributes have poured in to the work, legacy and personality of architect Dame Zaha Hadid, who died of a heart attack in a US hospital.

Her company ZHA Architects said: “It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid, died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of this morning (Thursday).

“She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital.”

Jane Duncan, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, described news of her death as “absolutely terrible”.

She said: “Dame 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.”


Abu Dhabi turned out the lights on Sheikh Zayed Bridge as mark of respect to its designer, Zaha Hadid.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize issued a statement saying: “The Pritzker Family and the Pritzker Architecture Prize organisation are deeply saddened by the passing of Dame Zaha Hadid. She was truly a pioneer in the field of architecture. The 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, she represents the highest aspirations of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She also served on the jury for one year. Zaha Hadid will be remembered for her talent, creativity, commitment, loyalty and friendship.”

Yale School of Architecture also paid tribute stating: “Architecture today lost one of it’s greatest. Zaha Hadid has died. Zaha was the current Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Architecture where she had taught regularly since 2001. She will be greatly, greatly, missed.”

Richard Rogers told The Guardian “She was a great architect, a wonderful woman and wonderful person… Among architects emerging in the last few decades, no one had any more impact than she did. She fought her way through as a woman. She was the first woman to win the Pritzker prize.”

London mayor Boris Johnson tweeted: “So sad to hear of death of Zaha Hadid, she was an inspiration and her legacy lives on in wonderful buildings in Stratford & around the world.”

UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey also said on twitter: Stunned to hear that the brilliant architect Zaha Hadid has died – she made a huge contribution to contemporary architecture.

Daniel Libeskind tweeted: “Devastated by the loss of a great architect & colleague today. Her spirit will live on in her work and studio. Our hearts go out.”


Zaha Hadid designed a set of skyscrapers will be constructed beside the harbour in Gold Coast, Queensland.

Lord Norman Foster, of Foster+Partners international studio for architecture and integrated design spoke about his friendship and admiration for the Iraqi-born designer.

Foster said: “I am devastated by the news of the loss of Zaha Hadid and cannot comprehend the enormity of her passing away. I became very close to her as a friend and colleague in parallel with my deep respect for her as an architect of immense stature and global significance.

“She was one of the very few architects as friends who was invited to my 80th birthday party in London last year. By a strange coincidence some days ago I received an email from one of her clients – someone she had designed a home for.

“With great pride he sent me about twenty pairs of images.  Each pair showed the visualisation that Zaha presented and the reality as finally built.  It was a beautiful juxtaposition of what Zaha promised and what she delivered. I was so looking forward to sharing with her these intimate insights. Tragically that will never happen.

“I think it was Zaha’s triumph to go beyond the beautiful graphic visions of her sculptural approach to architecture into reality that so upset some of her critics. She was an individual of great courage, conviction and tenacity. it is rare to find these qualities tied to a free creative spirit. That is why her loss is so profound and her example so inspirational. And, besides, she was my dear friend.”

In 2014, Foster and Hadid’s firms were both chosen to design high-rise hotels in China for Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.

Other star names have paid tribute including her colleague at ZHA Patrik Schumacher who said: “We are all shocked and devastated that we lost Zaha today, a most beautiful Her colleague Individual, talent, leader and friend…many thanks to all of you who express their sympathy and share this moment of grief with me.”

Bjarke Ingels of BIG also voiced his thoughts: “We are all incredibly sad to hear about the loss of Zaha Hadid. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. May she rest in peace.”

Jean Nouvel paid tribute saying:  “AJN presents its sincere condolences to Zaha Hadid’s relatives and teams for this cruel loss. Our sadness is immense Zaha Hadid Architects.”

Ma Yangsong of MAD Architects added: “My mentor Zaha Hadid’s life was an inspiring story of fighting for independence, equality and respect, while battling for progress and change. She loved and embraced the world with sensitivity and criticality.

“Many understood her bold determination and unequivocal perspective. Her stunning works captured the world as an optimistic and beautiful place, and enabled architecture to captivate new audiences. As her student 15 years ago, I was inspired and encouraged by her strengths and visions, and she will always continue to inspire both myself and everyone who experiences her work.”

Zaha Mohammad Hadid was born Oct. 31, 1950, in Baghdad. Her father was a wealthy businessman, a prominent in a progressive wing of Iraqi politics and a minister of finance before the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Hadid was allowed to design her bedroom as a child and decided to become an architect when she was 11. She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the American University in Beirut, then moved to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

By the time she graduated in 1977, she had studied with such renowned architects as Bernard Tschumi, Daniel Libeskind and Rem Koolhaas.

She opened an architecture studio in London in 1979. After struggling for years, she employed more than 400 people at the time of her death and was designing office buildings, museums, airports and concert halls around the globe.

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