Leaving a void in the architecture landscape, Zaha Hadid's unexpected death is a defining moment in the history of the medium. The evolution of her design sensibility reveals a brilliance that is extraordinary—from her first building, the Vitra Fire Station in Germany to the Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, to the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games. In an era where architecture has become somewhat of a 'mainstream' art form, Hadid's work was transformative.
Hadid, a female architect born in Iraq and educated in the UK, eclipsed whatever biases she encountered, and in fact turned a blind eye to those matters. She unflinchingly believed in the remarkable power of art and architecture. That sentiment claimed the heart of her artistry.
Quite simply, as a visionary, she brought a unique quality to architecture; and she will be sorely missed.
Dame Hadid's star rose quickly, a female 'starchitect' who made an impact 30 years ago with the Fire Station building in Germany. Among the many awards she won was the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2004. She was the first woman to win the honor.
She was a force to be reckoned with early on. Her innovative designs were bold and often controversial. So many of her projects never came to fruition, due to creative differences or budgetary issues, but she was unwavering in her vision. Through the years, that vision evolved from structures with stark angles to more naturalistic curved designs, but her signature style was still apparent, no what matter the shapes in which they were manifested. The surroundings of her projects were always an inspiration to her.
Accepting Hadid on her own terms was part of the mystique surrounding her. She also collaborated with other artists in many different mediums—from shoe designs to furniture to jewelry, attesting to her vast creative abilities whose basis was manifested in good design.
Shy by nature, her bigger than life structures and sketches are an inspiration to generations of architects, now and to come. But never a wallflower when it came to her artistic endeavors, she was bold and brash when it came to her architectural projects, never wavering from what she believed in. She was intimidating, she was a diva; she was a true artist.
Much like Leonardo da Vinci, some of her designs proved impossible to build, at least with current technology and materials. But the world is sure to catch up to her amazing conceptions so that her legacy will live on, even above and beyond the works that are already standing.