A Letter From Beverly Willis On The Passing of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker-winning architect, a giant of talent, whose designs — both realized and unrealized — profoundly influenced the world of architecture, died March 31, 2016 in Miami, US after experiencing a sudden heart attack, according to her architecture firm. We extend our condolences to her family, friends and firm. We will miss her.

She was 65. But we will not let her be forgotten.

Internationally recognized as the premier architect of her time, Hadid won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 — the first woman to do so – as well as winning most of the other top world-recognized awards. Not only was she a path breaker in design, but a model for women around the globe. She was a target for personal and professional attacks by many, including a well-known critic, who completely fabricated a story in order to attack her, but she stood strong, was not intimidated, fought back and won.

Hadid went to school in Beirut, where she studied math, and London, where she later settled. After studying at the Architectural Association in London, she launched her own practice in 1979. She quickly became famous for striking, dramatic and experimental design.

She designed all types of building in countries all over the globe, for example – Cultural: Guangzhou Opera House Guangzhou, China; Government: Pierresvives Montpellier, France; Transportation, Beijing New Airport Terminal Building; Sports; London Aquatics Centre; Commercial; Dongdaemun Design plaza, Seoul, South Korea; Multi-family, CityLife, Milan, Italy. Her design for the 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar is currently being built.

Zaha said this about her work: “I think that people want to feel good in a space. Architecture on the one hand is about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure, and I think … the more you carve out of city civic spaces and the more it is accessible to a much larger mass and public, then it is about them enjoying that space. That makes, you know, life much better.”

I deeply mourn her passing; her talent, theories and kindnesses. She taught students in many cities around the world.

– Beverly Willis, FAIA

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1 Comment

  1. Anncha Briggs

    Thanks Beverly! Yes, she will be missed .

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