“Would they call me a diva if I were a guy?”
March 31, 2016 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Groundbreaking visionary of contemporary spatial design, Dame Zaha Hadid has passed away. The British designer had a heart attack while in hospital in Miami, where she was being treated for bronchitis. One of the most sought-after architects in the world, Iraqi-born London-based Hadid was first woman to be awarded the prestigious RIBA gold medal in her own right, and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize.
posted by infini (59 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
.

for uppity women designers from unexpected places, everywhere.
posted by infini at 8:29 AM on March 31, 2016 [20 favorites]


My god. The New Yorker article about her from a few years back made such a strong and vivid impression on me that I find myself thinking about her randomly from time to time. Can't believe she is gone. Far far far too soon.

.
posted by sallybrown at 8:33 AM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


.
posted by glhaynes at 8:37 AM on March 31, 2016


Oh, gosh.

.
posted by droplet at 8:38 AM on March 31, 2016


.

wtf 2016.
posted by lalochezia at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2016


A real shock. She had a lot of great architecture in her still to come.

A couple of years back, I did a road trip to Lansing to see her Broad Museum, which (I think) was her first work on this side of the water. Stunning is hardly the word. To be in this brand new building, which was immediately obvious to be one for the ages. Incredible.

Just last week, the women in my family were lusting after her jewellery for Georg Jensen. So beautiful.

Many of architecture's greats are getting up there, and while there are a lot of claimants, she was clearly ready for the mantle of Greatest of Them All.

Godspeed.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Zaha Hadid was rad. Rest in peace.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2016


I wonder if the Tokyo stadium debacle broke her heart?

It's very odd that she died of a heart attack while in hospital.
posted by My Dad at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


One of those artists whose vision of the afterlife you can imagine without thinking about it, because they've made it here on earth.
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is tragic. She had a long career before her first major commission was realized, and the prolificness of her recent years was as much a product of belated recognition as maybe an attempt to make up for lost time while she could.

Of her work I've only been able to experience the Dongdaemun Design Park and it was thrilling. She's left a positive mark in the world with architecture that wasn't so stuffed full of her own ego there was no room for anything else, a seeming rarity among the superstar designers doing institutional work these days.
posted by ardgedee at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by praemunire at 8:51 AM on March 31, 2016


.
posted by Ravneson at 8:51 AM on March 31, 2016


.

Damn. I've never seen one of her works in person, but I've been a fan for a while and hope to see one someday.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:59 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


.




She is a hero to many of our students. I have had more than one young architecture student tell me they were going to be the next Zaha.
posted by gyusan at 9:02 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:10 AM on March 31, 2016


.
posted by certs at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2016


.

It's wonderful that she'll get to live on through her buildings. The only one I've experienced was the Broad Museum at MSU, which quickly topped Calatrava's Milwaukee Museum of Art as my favorite art museum, architecturally speaking.
posted by dis_integration at 9:18 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Damn.

.
posted by Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2016


A couple of years back, I did a road trip to Lansing to see her Broad Museum, which (I think) was her first work on this side of the water.

Fairly sure her first American building was Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center in 2003. My favorite memory of when it was built were all the issues with pouring concrete for the "urban carpet"
posted by mostly vowels at 9:25 AM on March 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh no! This made me gasp out loud.

I recently visited the Vitra Campus outside of Basel which houses the Vitra Fire Station, Hadid's first completed project. It was a really exciting space.

.
posted by painquale at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2016


Fairly sure her first American building was Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center in 2003.

You're right. My mistake.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:30 AM on March 31, 2016


.
posted by greenish at 9:37 AM on March 31, 2016


It didn't seem like her trajectory had reached apogee yet.

I wonder if she was a smoker?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:45 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
For an architect, especially one of any sort of renown, passing at 65 is a tragically short career. Thankfully Zaha put together a decent amount of built work, but even her earlier days as a "paper architect" were revolutionary. Her paintings that served as building renderings are awesome.
posted by LionIndex at 9:49 AM on March 31, 2016


Zaha on Desert Island Discs

.
posted by Casimir at 9:53 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mei's lost sandal: I've seen the odd picture of her with a cigarette, but quite old, so who knows how heavy a smoker she was and whether she'd stopped.
posted by LionIndex at 10:21 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by acb at 10:30 AM on March 31, 2016


Oh, gosh, indeed.

.

Re: "was she a smoker" -- I just worked on a piece about a beloved local prof who died of lung cancer last week at 64, a year younger than both Zaha Hadid and my own mother. His tweedy uniform naturally included a pipe; many of the best photos from student softball games caught him with a beer and a stogie.

That doesn't change the fact that his illness progressed at a devastating pace -- he was teaching until about two weeks ago -- and he is deeply, deeply missed.

So please forgive me for being a little sensitive right now, but maybe let's knock off with the implied "it could have been her fault for having bad habits."
posted by St. Hubbins at 10:32 AM on March 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:34 AM on March 31, 2016


Her Bergisel Ski Jump is one of the coolest structures on the planet (I've never been there or anything, I would imagine it to be even more striking in person).

.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:43 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not very familiar with how the world of architecture works, so please forgive this ignorant question: how could she sustain her studio between 1979 and 1993, if none of her projects were being built?
posted by ocherdraco at 10:59 AM on March 31, 2016


I'm not very familiar with how the world of architecture works, so please forgive this ignorant question: how could she sustain her studio between 1979 and 1993, if none of her projects were being built?

I thought I would dig up her early years to see

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

1977: Completes study at Architectural Associates, London; becomes partner with Office for Metropolitan Architecture
1980: Establishes Zaha Hadid Architects
1982: First accepted project, The Peaks Spa, Hong Kong (never built)
1993: Vitra fire station in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany opens
1994: Teaches in the United States: the Kenzo Tange Chair at Harvard University’s School of Design, Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois’s School of Architecture, and Master Studio at Columbia University; design for Cardiff Bay Opera House accepted, then rejected


I hope a British architect chimes in with how payments are being made, but afaik, architects don't just get paid only if the building they design raises funding to get built. They get paid to actually do the design of the building. See her first accepted project.

iirc she was doing a lot of rendering work, and painting back then. Here's another bare memory which implies low cost living and a lot of drafting work for other architects
posted by infini at 11:20 AM on March 31, 2016


So please forgive me for being a little sensitive right now, but maybe let's knock off with the implied "it could have been her fault for having bad habits."

I read it less as that, and more as "65 is somewhat young in the modern day, i wonder if anything contributed to it because ????". Like someone just trying to make sense of it, not some lol did she do it to herself crappy thing.
posted by emptythought at 11:34 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


emptythought: yes, exactly.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:44 AM on March 31, 2016




So, can we say "maybe?" Smokers live to be 100, too.

Loved loved loved this woman. Outspoken and creative to the end. People may have given her shit for being a paper architect, but those people are snobs. For one, paper architecture is a creative act all on its own (not designed to be built, not possible to build, etc.), and for two, like with Liebeskind it all fed a practical architecture career that actually got stuff built.

I have a thing where I think man-made things should look man-made, synthetic things synthetic. The mere existence of Zaha Hadid helped me immmensely to validate this.

.
posted by rhizome at 11:49 AM on March 31, 2016


[One deleted. Let's leave the thing about smoking at this point, the idea is noted, not necessary to have a side discussion.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:00 PM on March 31, 2016


.

thoughts here as a female architect myself.... if people were asked to name one female architect Zaha's name always comes to the mind. let her not be the last, let's continue to encourage young women designers and continue to raise focus of other female great architects and their work so they also become celebrated household names. my office is 85% female and we are all very sad today.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 12:46 PM on March 31, 2016 [23 favorites]


Architecture is known as an old man's profession. She was indeed, according to historical career arcs for male architects, just coming into her own. While there are more women architects than ever, few have moved into the rarefied space of "do-whatever-the-f-I-want" that is reserved for male "geniuses." I loved reading about her work and seeing her renderings and knowing that she is out there. There aren't many like her. I'm so sad she is gone.
posted by amanda at 12:48 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


.

I am friends with her personal assistant. Whenever Zaha would come to NY, it would give me an opportunity to see my friend who always accompanied her on these trips. Much to my embarrassment, I had no idea how important or influential she was until I actually read about her here on Metafilter.
posted by cazoo at 12:54 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


~
posted by yoga at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2016


I needed her to exist.
posted by infini at 1:03 PM on March 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


.
posted by litleozy at 1:06 PM on March 31, 2016


.

We happened to have the chance a couple of months ago to shoot in one of her last buildings, the Kronplatz chapter of the Messner Mountain Museum - a small-yet-majestic concretion jutting out from the heart of the Alps - a poignant place, as her creations always manage to be.

But I will also always remember her for how she shut down bullshit interviews.
posted by progosk at 1:54 PM on March 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


.

Oh man, no. This hurts. She was way too young to go.

She was so brilliant, and her work so very inspired. I think it's hard to overstate the effect of coming across her work was when I was studying design. The story of People Who Matter Now in Architecture seemed like a parade of (mostly white) men, and then BAM, Hadid.

I know she didn't just exist to be an inspiration to other women, but I hope (know) there is a generation of young architects out there ready to follow her and do amazing, incredible work.
posted by arha at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2016


Who will design her coffin / she must be buried tomorrow / the design journey is tumultuous
posted by parmanparman at 2:55 PM on March 31, 2016


.
posted by asok at 3:13 PM on March 31, 2016


I hope a British architect chimes in with how payments are being made, but afaik, architects don't just get paid only if the building they design raises funding to get built. They get paid to actually do the design of the building. See her first accepted project.

iirc she was doing a lot of rendering work, and painting back then. Here's another bare memory which implies low cost living and a lot of drafting work for other architects


I don't think it's generally UK-specific, but generally, more theory-driven architects make money from competitions, teaching, or selling their own drafting work as art. I've seen Hadid's paintings in museums (pretty sure there's a couple in the permanent collection at MoMA). "Paper architects" are basically artists with a certain type of subject matter and medium, and are generally just working around the normal way of doing things where you intern at an office and work your way up the ladder.
posted by LionIndex at 3:49 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


.
posted by leslies at 6:52 PM on March 31, 2016


What an untimely loss.

.
posted by Standard Orange at 8:26 PM on March 31, 2016


Is this the New Yorker article, sallybrown?
posted by infini at 1:42 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


She is a woman in the most masculine of the arts, and an Arab—an Iraqi, no less—with fiery political views of her own and a family history steeped in Iraqi politics. She has never been a natural fit, to put it mildly, with the clubby male establishmentarians who dole out the money to put up major buildings. And yet Zaha Hadid Architects is building them.
posted by infini at 1:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


RIP Ms. Hadid. Not just a profoundly talented architect but a genuinely talented artist. I've drooled in the past over her renderings and dream of the day when I could afford one.
posted by nikitabot at 8:33 AM on April 1, 2016


Two things, from that well-turned New Yorker profile:

smoking (she finally quit, cold turkey, when she was fifty)

and

[In 1990, the C.E.O. of Vitra Rolf Fehlbaum] had asked Hadid to design a chair, but after six months’ work Hadid said that it was impossible. “There are a lot of chairs,” she told him.)

I remember reading in a very recent interview that she still hadn't created a chair of her own. Another sign of how seriously she took her endeavours. What a legacy.
posted by progosk at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


i need to see her work live, but this genuinely broke me
posted by PinkMoose at 10:26 AM on April 1, 2016


A couple of years back, I did a road trip to Lansing to see her Broad Museum, which (I think) was her first work on this side of the water. Stunning is hardly the word. To be in this brand new building, which was immediately obvious to be one for the ages. Incredible.


This is just kinda proof that architecture is a pretty polarizing thing, and is very definitely in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I think the Broad Museum is something of an eyesore, and resembles nothing so much as an alien space ship landing pad. The angles of the building cause an incredible amount of useless space inside the building. The exterior with the stainless and angled edges are notorious for causing all sorts of glare issues for people in the student services building across the street from it. I'm willing to say it *could* have been reasonable if it was put in the right area of campus, but it just doesn't fit at all where it's at. Somewhere further south in the newer areas of campus would have made a lot more sense.

(Context for me, I can sorta see it from my office window, although the student services building does block most of my view of it. On a plus side, when you give directions to someone and tell them to turn right after they pass the alien landing pad, that is pretty effective for people to get to the right place :). I do find that the design is either a love it or hate it with people around here, there doesn't seem to be a lot of between viewpoints. And one of the letters in the sign at the Farm Lane entrance is mounted just a tad too high compared to the rest, which annoys me every time I walk by it.).
posted by piper28 at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2016


I wish more buildings looked like alien spaceship landing pads. Buildings of this class are engineering marvels, and there should be more opportunity to push the discipline further. Because I like engineering. And alien spaceship landing pads.

I can sympathize with the glare issues, but those are fixable.
posted by rhizome at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've often taught Hadid's oeuvre to my first year Architecture students and I just can't believe she's gone.

My girlfriend and I sat (ensconced on Finn Juhl Pelican chairs, so sympathetic!) in Hadid's 2005 extension to the Ordrupgaard Museum in Charlottenlund, Denmark, on a snowy day last winter. It's hard to explain, but we -as two architecture/ Interior Architecture students- knew that we were being embraced by an incredibly human-friendly space. As Hadid says in her New Yorker interview about tracing lines via relationships to earth and human movement - you really do feel it as you inhabit the interior. Even the hard materiality of its lava concrete shell is like a shawl wrapping around you - the scale when you look at her larger civic works is still very much a human one. It's hard for me to say it feels feminine, because it's not just an achievement for women (Meier also creates intimacy from strong, stark materials) but we both felt the experience of the building understood us, and drew us into an almost ancient, primal reverie.

What a loss for the future of our design and imaginings of the built environment.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:25 AM on April 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Economist obituary: Outside the rectangle.

"There were times Ms Hadid needed a hard shell. Her design for the Cardiff Bay Opera House won a competition against 268 entrants, but was torpedoed by a minority that didn’t like it—or her. The Heidar Aliyev centre she designed for Azerbaijan’s capital was called a monument to a dictator, a charge not often levelled at male peers in similar political environments. In 2014 the New York Review of Books retracted and apologised for a claim that there had been more than 1,000 deaths of migrants working on the site of a stadium she was building in Qatar. There had been no deaths, and construction had not even started. But the story was repeated by the BBC, so in a radio interview about her winning the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, she rebutted the claim, then cut the interview short."
posted by storybored at 6:18 PM on April 7, 2016


« Older The Death of Moral Relativism   |   "Never throw out a woman. You never know if she is... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments