Laureate, Pritzker Architecture Prize, & Principal, Zaha Hadid Architects
Zaha Hadid is one of the most popular and exciting architects working today, a reputation that was greatly abetted in 2004 when she won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, generally recognized as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for the field. The honor came despite Hadid’s reputation as a rebel and, in the words of one critic, as "an unyielding champion of uncompromising, knives-out modernism." Many of her early designs were never built, but her recent work has attracted wide acclaim. The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, for example, is seen as ambitious, creative, and iconoclastic, in part for expressing, in the words of a Britannica report, "a core tenet of Hadid's theory that there was no reason architecture should limit itself to the 90-degree angle."
Hadid was born in Baghdad. She attended college in Lebanon, at the American University of Beirut. She later moved to London and studied with the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Hadid established her own practice in London in 1979 and is based there today. Designs of hers that have attracted particular praise include the Monsoon Restaurant in Sapporo, Japan; the Vitra Fire House in Weil am Rhein, Germany; and an art museum near Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Known for big ideas and a highly intellectual approach to design, she has written extensively and served as a visiting professor at several universities.
Photo credit: Steve Double
© 2006 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.