Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was an Iraqi-born British architect. She was the first woman and the first Muslim to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, winning it in 2004. She received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2015 she became the first woman to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in her own right.
Hadid liberated architectural geometry. with the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life. A pioneer of parametricism, and an icon of neo-futurism, with a formidable personality, her acclaimed work and ground-breaking forms include the aquatic center for the London 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in the U.S., and the Guangzhou, China opera house.
On 31 March 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis.
Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq, to an upper-class Muslim family. Her father, Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid, was a wealthy industrialist from Mosul, Iraq. He co-founded the left-liberal al-Ahali group in Iraq in 1932, which was a significant political organisation in the 1930s and 1940s. He was the co-founder of the National Democratic Party in Iraq. Her mother, Wajiha al-Sabunji, was an artist from Mosul. In the 1960s Hadid attended boarding schools in England and Switzerland.
Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving, in 1972, to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. There she met Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis and Bernard Tschumi. She worked for her former professors, Koolhaas and Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, becoming a partner in 1977. Through her association with Koolhaas, she met Peter Rice, the engineer who gave her support and encouragement early on at a time when her work seemed difficult.
Hadid was a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom.
Hadid established her own London-based architecture practice in 1980. Her international reputation was greatly enhanced in 1988 by a showing of impressive architecture drawings as part of the groundbreaking exhibition “Deconstructivism in Archictecture” curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
In the mid-1980s, Hadid taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she held the Kenzo Tange Professorship, and at the Architectural Association.
In the 1990s, she held the Sullivan Chair professorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture. At various times, she served as guest professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK Hamburg), the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, the Masters Studio at Columbia University, and was the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at the Yale School of Architecture. From 2000, Hadid was a guest professor at the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, in the Zaha Hadid Master Class Vertical-Studio.
Hadid was named an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She was on the board of trustees of The Architecture Foundation.