The Iraqi born British Architect Dame Zaha Hadid, (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) whose work included the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, has died of a heart attack aged 65. Ms Hadid was considered one of the most innovative designers of her generation and was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in recognition of her work earlier this year. Collecting her Gold Medal in February, Dame Zaha said she was proud to have been the first woman to win in her own right. “We now see more established female architects all the time,” she said.” That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress.”
Hadid was internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects were built on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrated natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often resulted in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Her buildings have been welcomed around the world, including Hong Kong, Germany and Azerbaijan. Dame Zaha’s latest London building was the new design for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. She also designed the Riverside Museum at Glasgow’s Museum of Transport, and Guangzhou Opera House in China.
Born in Baghad, she studied maths at Beirut University before embarking on her career at the Architectural Association in London. In 1979 she set up her own company – Zaha Hadid Architects. Her first major commission to be constructed was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in Germany. She had recently been commissioned to build the Olympic Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics but the costs were too high to realise and after much infighting the commission was withdrawn.
Hadid died in a Miami hospital, following a heart attack on Thursday, where she was being treated for bronchitis.