Architect Zaha Hadid Dead at 65

Reactions to the iconic architect's death are already streaming in from her peers.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Zaha Hadid attends the Kensington Palace Summer Gala at Kensington Palace on July 9, 2015 in London, England.
Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images.

Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid is dead at 65, BBC reports. She died of a heart attack on March 31 at a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for a case of bronchitis she contracted earlier in the week. The news has been confirmed by Hadid’s studio independently by artnet News.

Art dealer Kenny Schachter, a long-time collaborator with Hadid, described her as “one of the most shockingly, stubbornly brilliant people I have ever had the honor and fortune of befriending and working with over years. Loyal and considerate beyond. I just can’t imagine a more tragic loss.”

In 2004, Hadid became the first female architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize. In both 2010 and 2011, she received the Royal Institute of British Architects’s (RIBA) Stirling Prize, and in 2012, she became a Dame. In 2015, she became the first woman to be awarded a RIBA Gold Medal.

Among her eponymous firm’s most famous designs are the Riverside Museum in Scotland, the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, and the Guangzhou Opera House. Prior to her death, she had been working on plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stadium, which were eventually scrapped in September 2015.

Over the course of her career, Hadid has been the subject of museum exhibitions at the Guggenheim, San Francisco MoMA, and at the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Born on October 31, 1950 in Baghdad, Hadid grew up in one of the first Bauhaus-inspired buildings in the Middle East. After studying at the American University in Beirut, she matriculated at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where she studied under Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis. Upon graduating in 1977, she went to work for Koolhaas, and in 1979, she established her own practice in London.

Hadid has long been linked to Deconstructivism, a school of design that encourages free-flowing forms and prioritizes visual complexity over functional design. She is widely regarded one of the best architects working today.

“For three decades now, she has ventured where few would dare: if Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance and then deftly folded them over and then took them out for a journey into space,” architect Sir Peter Cook said during the announcement of Hadid’s RIBA Gold Medal award in 2015.

“Let’s face it, we might have awarded the medal to a worthy, comfortable character. We didn’t, we awarded it to Zaha: larger than life, bold as brass and certainly on the case,” he continued.

Given her iconic status, reactions are pouring in fast from Twitter. A sample, below:


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