The Drawings of Dame Zaha Hadid

One of the world’s most visionary architects died last week. She was only 65. Zaha Hadid’s structures are famous for their use of fragmented geometry, swooping gestures and futuristic style. Iraqi-born Hadid, who had a background in mathematics, studied at the Architectural Association in London. In 2004 she won architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, becoming the first woman to receive the award (and Muslim, no less). She had a profound effect in our field, and opened so many doors for women in architecture. The world has lost one of its leading form makers.

ZahaHadid_Portrait_thesis

Aside from being a remarkable architect, Zaha Hadid was also a fashion, furniture and product designer. (Behind: Malevich’s Tektonik – her 4th-year student design project for a hotel on the Hungerford Bridge over the Thames)

Hadid drew on Russian Suprematism (think painter Kazimir Malevich) to create her own unique language of drawing, painting and building. Exhibitions of her drawings, paintings, reliefs, and installations have toured the world. Her intricate, abstract drawings were means of visualizing her architectural ideas.

The World (89 Degrees)

The World (89 Degrees)

Berlin: Blue Beam, Victoria City Aerial

Berlin: Blue Beam, Victoria City Aerial

Hong Kong: The Peak

Hong Kong: The Peak

Manhattan: A New Calligraphy of Plan

Manhattan: A New Calligraphy of Plan

Weil Am Rhein: Vitra Fire Station

Weil Am Rhein: Vitra Fire Station

Lebbeus Woods, an artist known for his unconventional architectural designs, and a kindred spirit no doubt, discussed Zaha Hadid’s drawings in his blog here.

Her striking and experimental designs were often dismissed as impractical, and at times even “impossible” to build. Until Hadid completed her first built work, the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany, in 1994, she was largely considered to be a paper architect. Since then, however, she has proven that her deconstructivist, largely column-free, designs work as buildings and not just as futuristic, theoretical concepts. Below are some of her projects that have been built around the world.

Vitra Fire Station. Photo by Wojtek Gurak.

Vitra Fire Station, Weil Am Rhein. Photo by Wojtek Gurak.

Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg. Photo by Werner Huthmacher.

Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg. Photo by Werner Huthmacher.

London Aquatics Centre: Olympics Swimming Venue, photo by Hufton+Crow

London Aquatics Centre: Olympics Swimming Venue, photo by Hufton+Crow

The Investcorp Building, University of Oxford. Photo by Luke Hayes.

The Investcorp Building, University of Oxford. Photo by Luke Hayes.

Messner Mountain Museum Corones, South Tyrol, Italy. Photo by Werner Huthmacher.

Messner Mountain Museum Corones, South Tyrol, Italy. Photo by Werner Huthmacher.

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Hufton+Crow.

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Hufton+Crow.

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Helene Binet.

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Helene Binet.

MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome

MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome

Guangzhou Opera House. Photo by Iwan Baan.

Guangzhou Opera House. Photo by Iwan Baan.

Hadid's design for the 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar is currently under construction amid controversy concerning working conditions for labourers.

Hadid’s design for the 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar is currently under construction amid controversy concerning working conditions for labourers.

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