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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Dame Zaha Hadid

03.06.2018
By Jenna Lippin

The late Dame Zaha Hadid broke barriers for art, design, architecture—and women.

Born in Baghdad in 1950, the city’s modernized views helped inspired her progressive spirit. After studying mathematics at the American University in Beirut, in 1972 she moved on to the Architectural Association in London, which supported the notion of pragmatic design.

Dame Hadid opened her own firm in London in the 1980s, when she created a buzz with a plan for the Peak Club in Hong Kong—a concept illustrated what would become more or less her signature style. The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman described the design as “a jagged, gravity-defying composition of beams and floating shards cantilevered into the rock face. It encapsulated the 1980s movement called Deconstructivism … She soon developed an insiders’ reputation as a leading theoretical designer of groundbreaking forms with unrealized projects like the Cardiff Bay opera house in Wales.”

The commissions and groundbreaking architectural projects continued and in 2004 Hadid became both the first woman and the first Muslim to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Before her passing in 2016, she was awarded the RIBA’s 2016 Royal Gold Medal—once again as the first female recipient.

As written by i+s Editor-in-Chief Kadie Yale:

“Dame Hadid did not allow what others may think of her gender, religion, or ethnicity to stand in the way of her craft. While many of us hope to just leave this world in slightly similar conditions in which we came into it, [Dame] Hadid left behind monuments to beauty and the future of design … Thank you, Dame Zaha Hadid, for adding such beauty to our world.”

Products and projects inspired by and created in collaboration with Hadid continue to be launched in all corners of the industry. From unprecedented designs created in collaboration with David Gill to Source One’s Zaha Hadid Hommage collection of wallcoverings, Porcelanosa’s VITAE line, and the New National Stadium that will be the centerpiece of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Dame Hadid’s genius continues to resonate throughout the A+D community.