designer profile - Zaha Hadid

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Zaha Hadid, who in 2004 became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, is known for the powerful, curving forms of the elongated structures she creates.


Born in Iraq in 1950, Zaha Hadid studied mathematics in Beirut, and then moved to London to study architecture at the Architectural Association School. Her influence in the field began early, with the publication of her designs for unbuilt projects, particularly the Cardiff Bay Opera House (1994).

Her first building in the USA, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, was an immediate critical and popular success and led to major commissions, including the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany; MAXXI, the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Rome; a high-speed train station in Naples; and the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Outside architecture her signature morphic lines have been applied to furniture design, paintings, exhibitions, jewellery, and sportswear, most notably her shoe range for Lacoste.

On a personal level, Zaha Hadid won several awards in 2010, including Visionary of the Year, Harper’s Bazaar Woman of the Year Outstanding Achievement award, UNESCO Artist for Peace, and Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’.


Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, Italy
MAXXI is the first Italian public museum devoted to contemporary creativity, arts, and architecture. Commenting on the winner of the 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize, the jury said: “This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built. The resulting piece gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date.”


Evelyn Grace Academy

Evelyn Grace Academy, London, UK
Zaha Hadid Architects’ first completed project in England, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, London, for ARK Schools, is part of the community’s local urban regeneration process. “Schools are among the first examples of architecture that everyone experiences and have a profound impact on all children as they grow up,” said Hadid.


King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art

King Abdullah II 
House of Culture & Art, Amman, Jordan
The design for a new venue for performing arts and culture in the centre of Amman was inspired by the ancient city of Petra. Hadid explains, “Petra is an astonishing example of the wonderful interplay between architecture and nature, as well as the intricate complexity and elegance of natural forms.” Construction works are scheduled to begin in early 2012.


London 2012 Olympic Aquatics Centre Chaoyangmen SOHO, Beijing
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