The Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who in 2010 designed the MAXXI (Museum of 21st Century Art) in Rome, is a leading figure in contemporary architecture.
Since the 1980s, she has been part of the deconstructivist movement, which seeks to break with society, history and technical traditions with non-linear designs that always defy the imagination, and sometimes even gravity.
Born in Iraq in October 1950, Zaha Hadid first studied mathematics in Beirut, Lebanon, before moving to London to pursue architecture. After graduating and working for a few years at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in London, she founded her own architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, and began teaching at various prestigious schools in Europe and the United States.
Hadid’s career had a slow and tortuous start: in the 1980s, as deconstructivism was flourishing, her projects were immediately classified as difficult, if not impossible, to build.
Her style is identifiable by her use of layered planes and sharp angles.
Zaha Hadid is responsible for several prestigious buildings, including the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain, and the Phaeno Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, dedicated to the popularization of science. Like many other deconstructivist architects, including her colleague Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid works extensively in metal and concrete. Her style is identifiable by her use of superimposed planes and sharp angles. One of the most characteristic buildings of her style is the fire station in Vitra, Germany, which reflects the relationship between lightness and complexity inherent in Zahid’s style. She also works on the alternation between curved and straight lines, for example in the construction of the ski jump in Innsbruck.
An immensely talented architect, Zaha Hadid is also an important figure in the women’s emancipation movement of the second half of the 20th century: in 2004, she was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, awarded to a living architect who has made a significant revolution in the world of architecture; in 2006, she renewed her title by being the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, an honor that only one other architect before her, Frank Gehry, had received. In 2008, she was also ranked by Forbes magazine as the 69th most powerful woman in the world.
Some of Zaha Hadid popular projects