Zaha Hadid

Hadid, Zaha, 1950–, British architect, b. Baghdad, studied American Univ., Beirut (1968–71), Architectural Association School, London (grad. 1977). A partner in Rem Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture (1977–79), she established her own London practice in 1979. A provocative theorist, influenced by abstract painting (particularly the work of Malevich and Kandinsky), Hadid has created innovative designs that stretch the boundaries of contemporary architecture with their spatial audacity, dynamic forms, horizontal elongations, and radical adaptations to landscape or urban setting. Her buildings are frequently characterized by smooth surfaces in glass, steel, and concrete; skewed planes and flowing arabesque forms; sculptural, column-free interior spaces; and asymmetric facades.

Though Hadid won many awards and became extremely influential with young architects, few of her larger 20th-century projects, e.g., Peak Club, Hong Kong (1983) and Cardiff Bay Opera House, Wales (1995), were built, and most that were built were quite small, e.g., Monsoon Restaurant, Sapporo, Japan (1990), and Vitra Firehouse, Weil am Rhein, Germany (1993). Hadid achieved international acclaim for her first American project, Cincinnati's Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (2003), which also was the first major U.S. museum designed by a woman. Her subsequent commissions include the Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany (2005), the BMW Plant Central Building, Leipzig (2005), and the National Museum of the XXI Century Arts, or MAXXI, Rome (2009). Among her more recent projects are the Opera House, Guangzhou, China (2011), with its flowing forms and double halls; the Riverside Museum, Glasgow (2011), with twin glass facades topped by roofs of pointed, zigzagging zinc; and the Broad Art Museum (2012) at Michigan State Univ., with its jutting, canted facade of pleated glass and stainless steel and its irregularly shaped galleries. Hadid was the first woman to win (2004) the Pritzker Prize.

See A. Betsky, Zaha Hadid: The Complete Work (1998); P. Noever, ed., Zaha Hadid: Architecture (2003); G. F. Giusti, Zaha Hadid (2004); T. Sakamoto, Zaha Hadid: Works (CD-ROM, 2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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