Zaha Hadid

Who is ?

was born in 1950 to an upper-class family in Baghdad, Iraq(Zaha-hadid.com 3). Her father was a wealthy industrialist and apolitical activist in Mosul. Her mother was an artist. She grew up ina privileged family that saw her study in some of the best boardingschools of England, Switzerland, and the USA. Apart from thefortunate background, she had a passion for architecture. Shedeveloped interest in the subject when she was still young. Coupledwith the opportunity presented to her as she travelled around theworld, it did not come as a surprise when finally decidedto pursue architecture as a full time career. Until her death inMarch 2016, she was a well-respected designer in the industry.

Zaha’s journey in Architecture

After trying her hand at mathematics at the University of Beirut inthe USA, she later realized that her interests were in architecture.In 1972, she moved to England where she pursued her passion at theArchitectural Association School of Architecture (Dezeen.com 1). Uponcompletion, she started working for her former professors in theirprivate architecture firms in Netherlands. She later made partner in1977. In 1980, she travelled back to London to form her own practiceknown as Architects. Currently, the firm offers employmentto over 400 people. Apart from designing, Zaha has taughtarchitecture and interior design at some of the reputableuniversities in the USA and England.

Awards won

The last award that she won before her death was the Royal Gold Medalfor architecture in 2015(Sorbeg 3). The award that seeks to recognizepersonalities, who have made major contributions in the field ofarchitecture, has been running for 168 years. Zaha was the firstwoman- without a male partner- to win the award, 167 years after itsinception. In a field that has been dominated by her male peers for along time, Hadid comes out as an outstanding architect. She has alsohandled several high profile projects with the most recent being thestadiums in the UAE for the 2022 FIFA world cup. She is also the bigidea behind the Tokyo stadium and the London Aquatics center.

What makes her designs unique?

realized that space is often overlooked when developingdesigns. Although human beings are social animals, it comes a timewhen the need for space is paramount. Space has a physical, socialand mental impact on the wellbeing of the inhabitants of that house.It is for this reason that her designs seems to put more emphasis onspace. Hadid is also known as the queen of curves. For a long timenow, curves have been associated with her works. Most of her designs,including the high profile ones, usually have an element of curve inthem. She believes that curves make a structure unique and are a gooddisplay of high workmanship. Her awareness for history and theenvironment have also been a great inspiration in most of herdesigns.

Zaha’s Works

Messner Mountain Museum Corones

Adapted from arcpace.com

The mountain museum is a depiction of Zaha’s awareness for natureand history (Kiser 6). The museum mimics the form an undergroundtunnel that allows visitors to descend into the mountain cavernsbefore entering the terraces that protrude from the wall of themountain. While standing on the edge of the terraces, visitors canhave a panoramic view of the entire area covered by the mountain. Theterraces are long enough to ensure that the visitor gets the bestview without any obstruction from the ground beneath him. Thestructure adheres to the history and traditions of mountaineeringarchitecture. The viewing terraces are made of lighter modes andjagged limestone peaks of the surrounding limestone in order toreflect any excess light that may be impairing vision. The structureserves to uphold the history of Corones as a place that dedicates itsresources to the appreciation of nature.

Heydar Aliyev Centre

Adapted from arcspace.com

The cultural center inAzerbaijan is a reflection of the country’s emphasis on upholdingits culture and traditional architectural designs. The countryawarded Zaha the contract after conducting a thorough internationalinterview. The structure hovers on a platform of light making itconspicuously visible in the wee hours of the day and late in theevening when the sun is setting (Platt 2). The luminous curves, wallsand flowing geometry all aim at reflecting as much light as possiblewhen other buildings cannot. While designing the structure, Zaha tookinto account Azerbaijan’s culture that is split between Europeanand Islamic customs. The experimental architecture sought to mergethese varying cultures into one modern building. The architects drewtheir inspiration from a spectrum of Islamic designs as old as 1400years. In addition to the curves that are characteristic of Zaha’sdesigns, the structure takes into consideration the concept of spacethat she holds dear.

Antwerp Port Authority Headquarters

The new port headquarters in Belgium are made up of an old firestation and a new crystalline building built above the retainedbuilding. From a distance, it looks like a great balancing act(Huffman 3). The crystalline finish on the new building ischaracteristic of Zaha’s designs. The asymmetrical position of thenew building on the retained fire station allows light to enter inboth structures. The sculpted pillars that hold the integrity of thebuilding also house the stairs and elevators. Carefully placed steelcolumns that lie in the yard also support the building. The finishingcomprises of triangular glass panes that are tilted towards eachother in order to achieve ever-changing reflections, which enhancethe diamond shape of the building. The building also offers twounderground parking spaces for vehicles and bicycles.

Adapted from arcspace.com

Conclusion

is a renowned architect who was born in Iraq but did mostof her architecture work in England. By the time of demise, she hadwon some of the most prestigious awards in the field of architecture.One of them was the Royal Gold Medal for architecture. Together withher firm, she has been able to make some of the most iconicstructures in the world. She will be greatly remembered for her rolein designing some of the most attractive buildings in the world.Among her most remembered masterpieces was the Heydar Aliyev Centerin Azerbaijan. The building has been a great source of touristattraction in the center. Unlike before, the cultural center nowreceives more guests from Asia and Europe courtesy of the iconicbuilding. Zaha drew her inspiration from the love of history, artsand political awareness. She also attributed her success totravelling much to various parts of the world.

Works Cited

Dezeen.com. to receive Royal Gold Medal for architecture.2016. Web&lthttp://www.dezeen.com/2015/09/24/zaha-hadid-royal-gold-medal-architecture-2016-riba/&gt

Huffman Tom.Antwerp Port Authority Headquarters. Arcspace.com. 2015.Web, Accessed September 6, 2016,&lthttp://www.arcspace.com/features/zaha-hadid-architects/antwerp-port-authority-headquarters&gt

Kiser Kirsten. Messner Mountain Museum Corones. Arcspace.com. 2014.Web, Accessed September 6,&lthttp://www.arcspace.com/features/zaha-hadid-architects/messner-mountain-museum-corones/&gt

Platt Kevin. Heydar Aliyev Center. Arcspace.com. 2014. Web, AccessedSeptember 6,&lthttp://www.arcspace.com/features/zaha-hadid-architects/heydar-aliyev-center/&gt

Soberg Martin. Architects. Arcspace.com. 2015. Web,Accessed September 6,&lthttp://www.arcspace.com/features/zaha-hadid-architects/ &gt

Zaha-hadid.com. architects. 2016. Web, Accessed September6, &lthttp://www.zaha-hadid.com/ &gt