“As a woman in architecture, you’re always an outsider, but it’s okay, I like being on the edge!”

A look back at the fierce Zaha Hadid and her boundary breaking designs.

Internationally renowned for her radical deconstructivist reflections and innovations for modern living, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid was an inspiring pioneer in the design world who challenged preconceived limitations of architecture and its role in society. Believing architecture to be a source of inspiration on top of shelter, Dame Hadid fundamentally altered the contours of modern architecture and design, shattering gender stereotypes along the way and becoming the first woman to receive the Pritzker prize – the highest award in her field – in 2004.

With an outpouring amount of grief following her passing, her legacy continues to inspire. Architizer’s founder Marc Kushner perfectly summarized that: “She is amongst a handful of architects that truly transformed the field within my lifetime. In doing so, she became as well-known as her buildings. To the world, she was Zaha.”

The late ‘Queen of Curve’ overcame many cultural barriers that had great potential to disrupt her vision. Beginning her studies at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and later travelling to London in 1972 to study at the Architectural Association, she met architects Elia Zenghelis and Rem Koolhaas, with whom she would collaborate as a partner at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. Although she gained international recognition for her competition-winning designs like The Peak (1983), a leisure and recreational centre in Hong Kong, the Kurfürstendamm (1986) in Berlin, the Düsseldorf Art and Media Centre (1992–93), and the Cardiff Bay Opera House (1994) in Wales, Hadid began to be known as a “paper architect,” as her designs were too avant-garde to move beyond the sketch phase and actually be built.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Instagram

By breaking the glass and pushing boundaries, Zaha exhibited what it meant to change an industry. She revolutionized how buildings are designed, exploring shape, material and form, and ultimately ‘infusing radical creativity and a robust sense of confidence’ to architecture.

For more than 3 decades, Zaha Hadid created “fluid, flexible and expressive works that evoke the dynamism of contemporary urban life”. Being the first woman to win the RIBA Gold Medal, which recognizes an individual’s substantial contributions to international architecture on behalf of the British monarch, shortly before her passing in 2016, the architect made sure her eponymous architecture firm, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), would continue her legacy and provide designs that “excite you, calm you, to make you think.”

“Like men, women have to be diligent and work hard – Would they call me a diva if I were a guy?”




Zaha Hadid: Complete Works (1979–Today)

2020 Edition

From an Olympic ski jump to the world’s largest airport terminal, this book contains the complete works of Dame Zaha Hadid, one of the great architects of the 21st century and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. With photos, descriptions and drawings, readers can explore the life and philosophy of the Queen of the Curve.


Available on TASCHEN


By Philip Jodidio

Discover the audacious futurism of Zaha Hadid. As the first woman to win both the Pritzker Prize for architecture and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, Hadid broke the rules and re-defined the game, despite some saying her designs were unbuildable. At the time of her unexpected death in 2016, she was firmly established as the first great architect of the noughties.


Available on TASCHEN

Born and Raised in Abu Dhabi, Palestinian creative Dujanah Jarrar reports on all things imaginative, immediate and intimate. Passionate about shifting perceptions and cultivating insight, her writings carry themes of cultural placement, identity and representation, exploring what innovative collaboration and creativity mean today.