The Queen of the curve, Zaha Hadid was a British designer born in Iraq on 31st October 1950. Above all, in this male-dominated profession, she strongly surpassed the architecture of her time. She made all of us experience the marvelous architecture with her deconstructive Zaha Hadid buildings.

Moreover, she became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker prize in 2004. “Heydar Aliyev Center”, one of the most famous Zaha Hadid structures got celebrated by Google doodle in honor of this day.  

Zaha Hadid also is the first woman to win the gold medal at the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2016. She was one of the lucky architects to add this achievement to her list before she died in March 2016.

“Architecture is no longer a man’s World. The idea that women can’t think three dimensionally is ridiculous.”

-Zaha Hadid

The story of Zaha Hadid’s life:

Zaha Hadid spent her childhood in the golden era of the modern world. She got interested in this field since she was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old. In addition, models and drawings of the buildings always fascinated Zaha and that’s what triggered her.

She began her higher studies by receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from American University in Beirut, Lebanon. In 1972, her design journey began when she started pursuing it at the Architectural Association in London.

Three years after her architectural education, Hadid decided to make a change in her fourth year. Therefore, she broke the architectural chain to introduce a new style. She also believed, “It was very anti-design. It was almost a movement of anti-architecture”. The style was the inspiration from a Russian art movement “Suprematism” which had geometric shapes and a little range of colors, founded by Kazimir Malevich.

Creative Style of Zaha Hadid:

Abstraction always inspired Zaha Hadid; she expressed her designs in the form of paintings rather than renders. Her paintings revealed three-dimensional abstract exercises that helped her to expand her creativity in the architectural field. They gave a different perspective that questioned the physical constraints of the design. Her paintings had fluidity, flexibility, and were very expressive that became the dynamics of contemporary urban life.

I was very fascinated by abstraction and how it really could lead to abstracting plans, moving away from certain dogmas about what architecture is”.

-Zaha Hadid

Building the Unbuildable:

“Paper Architect” was the title that Zaha Hadid got when she started her career. This was because all her designs were considered unbuildable. Moreover, all the Buildings by Zaha Hadid were believed only to exist on paper. Most of her initial designs did not make a way out of her sketchbook to be in the real world. However, very soon she got famous for building the unbuildable.

Model of Strasbourg Hoenheim tram station by Zaha Hadid

Paintings expressing modern art through abstraction inspired Hadid. Also, she drew inspiration from the nature and the surroundings of the site. She reshaped the architecture of her time by constantly crossing the limits in her projects. Her quote, “There are 360 degrees so why stick to one” gained a lot of fame and she started proving it with time.

The peak of Zaha Hadid’s life:

She started with her own architectural firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in 1979 in London. Her work started getting recognition only after 1982 when her project “The Peak Leisure Club” won the international competition. She painted the design of this private club in Hong Kong.

The Zaha Hadid Design for “The Peak Leisure Club” bought the peak of her career. Her idea was to transform the site by excavating the hills and making a structure out of nature. She wanted to use the removed rocks to build an artificial cliff. However, the bitter truth is that this life-changing project never got built. It got buried in papers as it was believed to be impossible to build. This very incident strengthened her title as “the paper architect”.

“The peak was the peak and still remains a peak” quoted by Elia Zenghelis perfectly describes Hadid’s work.

Zaha Hadid Buildings:

Zaha Hadid with her flamboyant buildings changed the way people looked at architecture. Also, she made it glamorous for the users to enjoy and not only utilize the space. Moreover, works and buildings by Zaha Hadid started getting popular with time. Listed below are some of the popular ones of them:


The first work of Zaha Hadid to touch the ground which gave her international recognition is very different from her new organic style. Its design is seen in tilted and crashing planes, highlighting the contemporary style of architecture. Originally built as a firehouse in 1993, the building now serves as a space for exhibitions and events. The straight lines and sharp edges of the building in exposed concrete drew inspiration from neighbouring vineyards and farmlands.  This sculpture-like building, resembling a bird in flight, was one of the very first of Zaha Hadid works.


The building is the icon for Zaha Hadid, located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The 8 stories high structure rising and merging in the ground with its wavy form is breath-taking. It is dedicated to cultural programs in Azerbaijan. The building also was named after the Country’s former President. This building, flowing in nature since 2012 also serves as a library, museum, and conference centre. By winning the title of Design Museum of the Year in 2014 and gaining fame, the building made its place in the architectural world. 


The building built in 2005 “condenses a lot of things that have been in my work for a long, long time”, Zaha Hadid said. She in an interview mentioned that the Phaeno Science Center was one of the most exciting projects among the works done by Zaha Hadid Architects. The center gives an experience of the operatic power of space with its steel vertex and exhilarating concrete. It is a combination of forms that includes jagged angles, looming curves, and fractured planes. “Architectural adventure playground” is how we can describe this center. The building is one of the most renowned Zaha Hadid structures and transformed the future of architecture.


“The double pebble” that’s exactly how this structure looks like. It resembles two small rocks in a stream when seen from far. This freestanding concrete auditorium built in 2010 is in exposed granite and glass-clad steel frame. The concept was to blend the structure with the riverside. The glass plates let the light flood in and merge it with the surrounding. Also, the amazing interiors of this 1800 seater main auditorium leave everyone mesmerized. Thousands of tiny ceiling lights resemble the stars in the night sky. This unique Opera House with its seamless touch makes everyone gaze at it for a while.

Guangzhou Opera House, China


The curves and arches of this 842 meters long bridge link Abu Dhabi Island with the Gulf South shore. The design of the bridge also resembles a roller coaster. The steel arches are the spine of the building suspending the cantilevered road on both sides. The bridge being a destination spot in itself is rocking since 2010 and its beautiful night look with colored lights is the cherry on top.

Zaha Hadid works other than architecture:

Zaha Hadid not only gave her creative contribution to the architecture of the World but also many other things. She took some high profile interior projects and she started putting her concept of fluidness in furniture. She also worked with a clothing brand to create new and high fashion shoes. Zaha Hadid also collaborated with a brassware company. She proved her worth in the design field.

Zaha Hadid & New York City:

Zaha Hadid Architects surprisingly have only one project in New York City. It made its mark in the NYC skyline with 520 West 28th Street. The majority of her dreams about NYC remained unbuilt after her sudden death. Zaha believed that skyscrapers lack flexibility and complexity. Therefore, she restricted designing the skyscrapers for quite some time. However, this project was her first tower design submission after a long break for the competitive bid launched by the State.

This become one of the most architecturally famous apartment buildings in NYC with a curvaceous form. The 11 stories high residential complex has 39 apartments. The crown jewel of the building is the triplex penthouse consisting of five bedrooms.

She worked on this project but could not see it getting in complete shape as it was finished only in 2018, after her death. The building happened at the right time; otherwise, there would have been no memoir of Zaha Hadid in NYC.

Interesting & Unique facts about Zaha Hadid:

  • She has her magic spread across the World with her innovative designs in 45 countries with 950 projects.
  • Zaha Hadid also had a successful line of shoe designs. Yes! You heard it right, she nailed it even in the Fashion World.
  • To leave all of you in shock, Zaha Hadid has been the Award bearer for every year since 2000. Her maximum number of awards in one year has been 12 which is definitely record-breaking.
  • She was also a teacher at Harvard.
  • Althout she was a Starchitect, she did not live in a home designed by her.
  • Interestingly, she had completed only 4 projects when she won the Pritzker Prize.

In conclusion, Zaha Hadid has carved her name deep in the creative field. Most of her designs were inspired by nature and have a fluid and seamless appearance. Zaha Hadid buildings have changed the old look of the buildings. Moreover, now the world of architecture is drawn more towards sculptural buildings more than just square structures. A visionary Architect and an inspiration for all of us, Zaha Hadid’s absence is felt by the entire world.


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