Zaha Hadid, the woman behind many fantastic architecture.

Zaha Hadid is a name no one will not recognize in the world of architecture. Her name always appears in whatever discussion I had with my colleagues about design projects. Her name also appears frequently in architecture-related news or articles since she and her office have been actively producing a lot of striking designs. Well, I guess she is the most famous now among all the present star architects. Well, how did she get there and how did she manage to climb to the top of the profession so successfully?

Let’s talk about a bit of her background. She is an Iraqi-British architect and would be turning 65 by end of this month.  She was born in Baghdad and grew up in one of the city’s first Bauhaus-inspired buildings during an era in which “modernism connoted glamour and progressive thinking” in the Middle East. She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Zaha Hadid Architect

In 2004 she became the first woman recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the world’s highest honour awarded to architects annually. On the other hand, she had also received Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011, and RIBA Gold Medal in 2015 (these two prizes are the most prestigious British awards for excellence in architecture). In 2008, she ranked 69th on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. In 2012, she was also made a dame. Her architectural design firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs more than 350 people, and is headquartered in a Victorian former school building in Clerkenwell, London. She is also currently a professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria.

Her buildings are distinctively neofuturistic, characterised by the “powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures” with “multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life”. She has been one of my idol architects because her designs are mostly very iconic, striking and usually stood out among the rest. She challenges the typical forms and structures, she gives new depths and dimensions to her spaces, and she ‘carved’ out things that we have never seen before most of the time. I believe that is what makes her works always being regarded as groundbreaking design. Here below are ten of her completed works that I admired:

Hungerburgbahn Station, Innsbruck, Austria.


Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain.


Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China.


Galaxy SOHO, Beijing, China.


Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.


Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center by Zaha Hadid06_0

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan, USA.


Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong, China.


Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea.


Wangjing SOHO, Beijing, China.


These projects above are only the ones completed as she do has a lot of designs not materialized since they are mostly too ambitious and some simply couldn’t accept due to the technical difficulties, high cost, and excessively extravagant appearances. For the most recent example, her winning design proposal for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium is scrapped by the authority due to the above reasons I mentioned earlier. (image below)


Also, actually, Zaha Hadid had designed a skyscraper in my city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s called Sunrise Tower. Another futuristic looking design with two giant holes puncturing the building’s facade. (image below) However, the developer named other architect to design and Zaha Hadid’s first work in Malaysia could not be materialized. Too bad.


I’m now thinking that it must be very good to work in Zaha Hadid Architects’ office. It’s like you are in a very distinguished design office and whoever ask you, ‘Who are you working for?’, and then I’ll say ‘Zaha Hadid’. Their reaction must be ‘Wow!’. I’m dreaming. Well, it’s like everyone knows her. Yes…even some people who are not in anyway involved in architecture knew her name. How I wish I can be as famous as her in architecture field in the future.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)



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