In Memory of the Dame – Zaha Hadid
This month, on March 31st, marks the first annual memorial for the late Dame, Zaha Hadid, the celebrated Iraq-born London-based Architect.
Zaha’s fascinating designs are everywhere, from United Kingdom to Japan, Lebanon, China, Azerbaijan, and others. Over the past decades, she has changed from being the architect with unbuildable design to someone who can’t stop building inspiring and challenging buildings. Her brilliant work made her take a place alongside Jim Stirling, Norman Foster, her mentor Koolhaas, Renzo Piano, and Alvaro Siza, by winning the Pritzker Prize (which is rated as architecture’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize). Zaha is the only female architect to receive both the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Gold Medal, and the Pritzker Prize. This by far contributes to making her widely considered one of the most influential contemporary female architects in the world.
“A planet in her own inimitable orbit” by this phrase Rem Koolhaas has described Zaha when she graduated after studying with him at the Architectural Association in the 1970s. This shall bring the question of how do leading Architects and prominent figures in the industry think of an Architect like Zaha and her work? On the occasion of her memorial, the following lines grasp some testimonials and paid tributes to a very special Architect as Zaha.
“How do you sum Zaha up? A great Architect, and a great person. Very special person.” This is how the famous Norman Foster defined Zaha.
Speaking about Zaha’s uniqueness, Daniel Libeskind’s said “Zaha was a pioneer, and she was a star in the firmament of ideas and of poetry. And once a star goes out, there’s really no one to replace it. She was unique.”
Richard Rogers also attested to her uniqueness and her role in the society saying: “She has certainly sculptured up a way through society and Architecture. Which is unique, which is so great.”
Patrik Schumacher, director at Zaha Hadid Architects and Hadid’s closest collaborator, has spoken about Zaha’s significance and unprecedented value she has contributed to the profession “zaha’s historical significance, I think if anything, has been underestimated. She’s been monumental innovator, radically expanding the degree of freedom one has as a composer in space.”
“While I was at the AA, there was this sense that this was somebody who is going to be a great Architect. The AA was just a hot bed, radical thinking, and yet she was the one who I think most successfully exported those ideas and developed it into a language that could then be kind of understood.” Said Amanda Levete, Director, AL_A, describing Zaha’s work.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic director of Serpentine Galleries, praised Zaha’s courage and influence saying: “When you are an artist or an architect you need immense courage. Zaha had this immense courage. She radiated this immense courage, and that was infectious to many many young people.”
“Zaha was a genius,” said Deborah Berke, dean of Yale School of Architecture. “She was doing work that nobody else conceived of, never mind figured out how to build.”
Bjarke IngelsI, partner BIG, highlighted another thing Zaha is famous for, which are her painitng. He said : “I started studying Architecture in 1993, and of course I stumbled upon Zaha’s painting. What she managed to do, which is so amazing, is to actually take this entire universe that seemed impossible and unbuildable and completely sort of changing our understanding of what’s fantasy and what’s reality. “
As a closure for this article, we will use the words of Paul Goldberger, Architecture critic, “Who knows what extraordinary creative things might have come out of that imagination if it had another one or two decades to keep producing things.”