Zaha Hadid Legacy

Zaha Hadid, the world’s most famous female architect who attracted plaudits for works of sweeping curves and controversy for huge cost overruns, died at the age of 65.

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Iraqi-British Hadid, the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture, was best known for her designs for the Guangzhou Opera House in China and the aquatics centre used in the 2012 London Olympics.

But she faced criticism last year after her futuristic $2 billion (1.7 billion euro) design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium was scrapped amid spiralling costs and complaints over the design.

Born in Baghdad in 1950, where her father was a politician, Hadid forged a career in the male-dominated world of architecture bringing her curvaceous, radical designs to life in glass, steel and concrete.

Hadid’s other notable works included the Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati.

“I believe that the complexities and dynamism of contemporary life cannot be cast into the simple platonic forms provided by the classical canon,” she said in her speech accepting the Pritzker Prize, the most prestigious in architecture, in 2004.

“The initial sense of abstractness and strangeness is unavoidable and not a sign of personal willfulness.”

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Talent and Determination. Hadid studied maths at the American University of Beirut before going on to study at the prestigious Architecture Association in London, where her professors included leading Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

She established her own practice in London, Zaha Hadid Associates, in 1979 but it took some time before she got a building constructed. The first was a fire station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, in 1993.

In 1994, she won a competition to construct an opera house in the Welsh capital, Cardiff. However, the design was eventually scrapped amid fierce local opposition.

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