Zaha Hadid - A tribute from KCoA
Zaha Hadid grew up in a well-educated Islamic family oriented toward Western multiculturalism. She studied architecture in London from Architectural Association School of Architecture. For many years, her designs filled the pages of architectural periodicals, but were dismissed as impractical or as too radical, and Hadid even thought about giving up architecture after she suffered a major rejection in her adopted homeland of Britain in 1995. Her star began to rise internationally when her design for Cincinnati, Ohio's new Center for Contemporary Art was selected and built, earning worldwide acclaim. By the mid-2000s Hadid employed nearly 150 people in her London office and was working hard to keep up with new commissions that were coming in, offering her a chance to help reshape the world architectural landscape. The drawing ability that would later attract attention in art museums was first absorbed from her mother. Hadid's interest in architecture had roots in a trip her family took to the ancient Sumer region in southern Iraq, the site of one of the world's oldest civilizations, when she was a teenager. "My father took us to see the Sumerian cities," she told Jonathan Glancey of London's Guardian newspaper. "Then we went by boat, and then on a smaller one made of reeds, to visit villages in the marshes. The beauty of the landscape—where sand, water, reeds, birds, buildings, and people all somehow flowed together—has never left me. I'm trying to discover—invent, I suppose—an architecture, and forms of urban planning, that do something of the same thing in a contemporary way." "If [architecture] doesn't kill you, then you're no good," she explained to Glancey. "I mean, really—you have to go at it full time. You can't afford to dip in and out." Anyone struggling to put into words her audacious aesthetic could start with her fellow colleague Peter Cook’s description at the ceremony of RIBA awards: “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 took them out for a journey into space.”Putting that vision into practice took exceptional conviction, and, during some of her mid-career years, Hadid was better known for her work on paper than in practice. Subsequently, however, her buildings became emblems of ambitious cities the world over, from Cincinnati (the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, 2003) to Guangzhou (the Opera House, 2010) to Baku (the Heydar Aliyev Centre, 2013).Norman Foster's tribute to Zaha Hadid: "By a strange coincidence, some days ago I received an email from one of her clients – someone she had designed a home for. With great pride he sent me about twenty pairs of images. Each pair showed the visualization that Zaha presented and the reality as finally built. It was a beautiful juxtaposition of what Zaha promised and what she delivered. I think it was Zaha’s triumph to go beyond the beautiful graphic visions of her sculptural approach to architecture into reality that so upset some of her critics. She was an individual of great courage, conviction and tenacity. It is rare to find these qualities tied to a free creative spirit. That is why her loss is so profound and her example so inspirational. And, besides, she was my dear friend."