5 Iconic Buildings by the Late Zaha Hadid

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5 Iconic Buildings by the Late Zaha Hadid

Architects, designers, and activists mourned a heartbreaking loss when award-winning architect Zaha Hadid died unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 65. Famous for becoming the first woman and first Muslim to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004, Hadid is remembered for her ultra-modern, era-defining urban structures that leave passersby awestruck.

The larger-than-life designs and expressive personalities that made Hadid’s architecture so visually magnificent were considered groundbreaking in the 1990s, when she became one of the first architects ever to pioneer what would become known as parametricism. So disruptive was her work, in fact, that her off-kilter style provoked fans to question how such geometrically unorthodox buildings could stand on their own. Meanwhile, governments repeatedly sought her unique concepts as a means to revitalize their cities.

Just last year, Hadid became the first woman to receive the esteemed RIBA Gold Metal for her lifetime’s work on buildings, furniture, footwear, and cars. Here are 5 of her most recognized projects from around the world:

Vitra Fire Station, Germany

The towering triangular structure of this uncharacteristic fire station became Hadid’s first completed work, built on the grounds of furniture manufacturer Vitra in 1993.

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MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome

The avant-garde layout of Hadid’s design for this contemporary-art museum contrasted the traditional buildings of Rome. Yet it was widely celebrated: “Its sensual lines seem to draw the energy of the city right up into its belly, making everything around it look timid,” said architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff.

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Guangzhou Opera House, China

Built in 2010, Hadid’s design beat out those of Coop Himmelblau and Rem Koolhaas in an international architectural competition, allowing her “double pebble” concept to eventually become the largest performing center in southern China.

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London Aquatics Centre, United Kingdom

While mapping out the vast, flowing design of this aquatics complex for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Hadid said her concept was rooted in “the fluid geometry of water in motion.”

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Heydar Aliyev Center, Azerbaijan

Constructed as part of the government’s plan to morph Azerbaijan into a cultural destination, the soaring structures of this cultural center were so intentionally devised that Hadid created a unique design for every roof and ceiling panel.

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Zaha Hadid was a truly inspiring human being who will be missed dearly by the architecture and design community. Rightfully remembered as a true icon, she left her beautiful mark on the world in many ways and many places.