Dame Zaha Hadid was one of the most talented architects of our time – and it’s with heartfelt poignancy that we now write ‘was’. The British-Iraqi died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday in Miami, aged 65, while being treated for bronchitis in hospital.
She achieved many firsts in the design industry: She was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 2014, and earlier this year she was the first female architect to be awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal for her work. Upon receiving the accolade, she said: “We now see more established female architects all the time. 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.”
She leaves behind an inspirational legacy, especially for female architects working in a predominantly male-orientated profession. The visionary has designed many striking and enduring buildings, such as the wave-like London Aquatics Centre used for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery, plus the MMM Corones museum, which defies gravity nosing out of the Kronplatz mountain in Italy, and China’s futuristic Guangzhou Opera House.
The work of Zaha Hadid Architects, which she established in 1979, will continue to uphold her legacy, with projects including a stadium at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. In Dubai, the anticipated building The Opus by Omniyat was her first foray into hotel design, acting as both architect and interior designer of the ME hotel, common areas and serviced residences. The striking tower features an organic void at the heart of the building, creating a shifting portraiture of the iconic cityscape of Business Bay within its monolithic frame.
Dame Zaha Hadid will continue to be a leading light in architecture, and we thank her for making such an indelible mark on the world’s urban landmarks.