Zaha Hadid: Building icons

Heydar Alijev cultural centre in Azerbaijan, Zaha Dadid, 2012
Heydar Alijev cultural centre in Azerbaijan, Zaha Dadid, 2012

In 1978, a critic wrote about Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, that her buildings are "mutant forms of urbanism" in which he would hate to live. Forty years on, this critic said that those of us lucky enough to see Hadid’s buildings "can never have seen such dream-like spaces". Zaha could divide the opinion, but she never failed to amaze! Sadly, she died of a heart attack recently at the age of 65.

She grew up in Iraq of the 1950s, a place of enlightenment where girls were expected to become professionals. The shy schoolgirl grew up into a formidable woman, the first woman winning all major architect prizes.

Amongst her iconic buildings are cultural palaces in Azerbaijan and South Korea, stadiums in London and Doha, skyscraper in Miami, tower in Marseille, a mall in Beijing, museums in London, Rome and Glasgow, an opera house in Guangzhou, just to mention a few.

Her fragmented geometry, multiple perspectives and expressive curves innovated the old architectural forms, mirroring the dynamics of the first decade of this century. Inspired by Russian constructivism that believed that art transforms societies, she, too, wanted to make public and urban spaces liberating. Her neo-futurist designs - often beyond the grasp of the human mind and hand - glorify modernity and technology. Pushing the limits of buildability and, sometimes, costs, she used to say: "Buildings are around for a long time. It's worth building something exceptional."

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