Is Zaha Hadid the “diva of the architecture never built” according to Hebert Muschamp in the article “Women of Steel” published in Style Magazine? Or is she the “queen of the curve”, a women architect who had struggled with her own personality and couldn’t understand for a while that she had to come down from her celestial spheres to the planet Earth, where not everybody could understand her eccentric and aggressive designs and her exotic demands. But for sure her designs are the buildings of the future, the constructions to come of a fabulous and uncommon era.
Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, she got her degree in architecture in London, and she was admired for her powerful, energetic architectural designs. But before 2000 she won and lost a lot of jobs and she had created great architecture who nobody built. A lot had to do with her flamboyant and difficult personality and with the fact that her renderings were exaggerated “energy lines” how she had named them. Her clients got scared and left and she had asked herself what was really wrong with her drawings. The turning point in her career has been when after winning a design competition to build “The Opera House” in Cardiff, Wales, she lost the bid. This was the time when she has looked at herself, analyzing and understanding what really has been going wrong in her life. She had learned that until she will be closer to her supporters and get rid of her eccentric demands she won’t be able to build her designs. Zaha Hadid had won the struggle with her own ego and her social conduct changed.
She had started to describe her projects at the level of understanding of her clients, her requirements had changed and her erudite side of her lectures was gone forever. A new Zaha Hadid had emerged, and her first American project, “The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art” was built in Cincinnati (2003). Also, other projects had been built around the world as “Phaeno Science Center” in Wolfsburg, Germany (2005), “Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion”, Spain (2008), “Sheikh Zayed” Bridge in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2010), “Guangzhou Opera House”, China (2010), “London Aquatics Center”, England (2012), “Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center”, Baku, Azerbaijan (2012), “Galaxy Soho”, Beijing, China (2012), “Messner Mountains Museum”, Italy (2015). These are only some of the buildings she had designed before she passed away in 2016 at the age of 65.
The architect who had her energetic projects sitting on her drawing board for a while is celebrated today all over the world by countries who had built her deconstructive projects. As an appreciation to her contribution to architecture she had received the “Pritzker Architecture Prize” which is the highest award for architectural design, and she is the first women architect in twenty-six years to receive it. In 2010 and 2011 she had received in London the “Stirling prize” for Architecture. By winning her inner battle with herself, she had put her name on the billboards of the world as one of the best architects of all times and “even the fertile brains of Art Nouveau designers seem parched for inspiration compared to her energetic ideas”.
Zaha Hadid’s ten best buildings.
Illinois Institute of Technology. Zaha Hadid.
Woman of Steel; Herbert Muschamp
The New York Times Magazine, March 2004