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Known for Being

The first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

A radical and innovative contemporary architect.

Major Accomplishments

Zaha Hadid is considered to be one of the most innovative and radical contemporary architects, having employed her knowledge in mathematics and inspiration from modernist art to design and eventually construct organic architectural forms and absurdist spaces. Hadid won many design competitions, but in the early years of her career, she had to work hard to get her distinctively original entries built.

When she became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, one juror said that even without building, Hadid would have "radically expanded architecture's repertoire of spatial articulation." While many of her winning designs were being shelved in the early years, Hadid nevertheless persisted, seeing her failure to build as a "laboratory" for continuing to develop her exciting architectural innovations.

After some part-time study of mathematics at the American University of Beirut (AUB), she moved on to study at the renowned Architectural Association (AA) of London. Her graduation project at the AA, "Malevich's Tektonic," directly influenced by the Russian modernist Kasimir Malevich's was never built, but she attributed her adoption of painting as a design tool and her novel view of space to Malevich. Her first major project was the Vitra Fire station in Weil an Rhein, Germany in 1993, a powerful design said to "split" space. Among her shockingly innovative works are the prize winning design for the Cardiff Opera House in Wales, UK in 1994; the Mind Zone at the Millenium Dome in London, UK in 1999; the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria in 2002; and the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburh, Germany in 2005. Hadid's own architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, has expanded widely over the years. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, the construction of which was completed in 2014.

Last modified: 02/11/2019

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