This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

An Overview of Zaha Hadid

downloadDownload printPrint

As defined by Merriam Webster, architecture the art or science of designing and creating buildings. While the word itself is narrowly defined, the art itself is broad, and the science complex. Therefore, being considered a master or impactful, is a feat that few reach. For centuries, architects were educated on what was known, continually repeating their predecessor’s mistakes and confining their designs to function. However, throughout these time periods, there were only a few intelligent and innovative individuals who have had the honor of being remembered for laying down a foundation for the future of architecture and leaving a legacy. Among these notable architects are Gustave Eiffel and Jorn Utzon who designed the Eiffel tower and Sydney Opera House respectively. These men are prime examples of innovators who’s creative genius and ability to think outside the box landed them a place in history. Still, to be considered among the greatest architects, one must shine creatively and practically. It is a combination of the two that Zaha Hadid embodies with her life’s work and the legacy she leaves behind.

Are you Looking For A Custom Essay about “An Overview Of Zaha Hadid” NOW? You Found It!

Professional Writers that Guarantee an On-time Delivery


experts online

Born in Baghdad, Iraq on October 31, 1950, Hadid was welcomed by two wonderful parents. Both originating from Mosul, Iraq, her parents gave her great influence at an early age. Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid, Zaha’s father, was a man of affluence who also came from wealth. He studied at the London School of Economics and after succeeding as an industrialist turned towards an interest in politics. He later became the founder of an al-Ahali group in 1932. This leftist liberal organization took aim in ensuring the democratic and civil growth within his nation flourished. This proved successful when a few years later in 1958, Muhammad and a cohort of army officers overthrew the monarch. He then established himself later becoming the Minister of Finance for the government of General Abd al-Karim Qasim. Like Muhammad, Zaha’s mother, Wajiha al-Sabunji, was also raised by a wealthy family in Mosul, Iraq. Her Influences included a wide interest in the arts. As an artist, her mother encouraged her to appreciate design, drawing, sketching, and other artistic activities. Hadid references these early experiences, coupled with travel and sightseeing to a push towards her career.

When Zaha reached a school age she was enrolled in a Catholic boarding school administered by French Roman Catholic nuns. The school was predominantly French children but during this tolerant and progressive era of Iraq, the school welcomed people of all backgrounds including Muslim and Jewish students. She began her secondary education in Switzerland and Great Britain and then continued in the Middle East, when she chose to study mathematics at the American University in Beirut between 1968 to 1971. After receiving her diploma, Zaha continued her life in London and became a British citizen. She participated in innovative and challenging experimental designs during the 1970s and 1980s through the Architectural Association. An intriguing organization that encouraged much brainstorming and thinking outside the box. As Hadid progressed closer to her graduation, she completed her final project called the Malevich’s Tektonik, leading her to the first stepping stone on a path of innovative projects and architecture.

Zaha Hadid’s ideas and style seeped from Kasimir Malevich’s idea of suprematism. Russian painter Kasimir Malevich was born in 1878 and continued his life until 1935. Malevich founded suprematism and was given credit for painting the first geometric, nonrepresentational picture. Malevich jumped into a new type of architectural visual, creating “series of three-dimensional “architektons” through the next decade.” The three-dimensional structures had unlimited imagination, ranging from airplanes, building, or even cities that soared in the sky between the Earth and the Moon. By allowing the ideas flow freely first without constricting them with gravity and physics the creative process is uninhibited. It is this way that creations of Malevich were made possible. Hadid practiced his techniques and continued it further, conceptualizing different variations of the shapeless, not recognizable to Malevich’s previous creations. “Hadid gave color to the snow-white crystalline forms originally carved in the Russian winter and took them on vacation to the tropical warmth of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brazil or Morris Lapidus’s Miami, creating a kind of poolside architecture….” Hadid received an ample amount of knowledge from Malevich and maneuvered around the nooks and un-delightfulness she saw in his technique, only to better improve the idea of Suprematist Composition. In 1976-1977, Zaha finally presented her AA thesis project, Malevich’s Tekonik, filling the Alpha Architekton of 1923 that included a 14 layer structure based around a club and pool. Her innovative research and pure ability to produce a structure described as, “long, thin white bar, encrusted with linear outcrops like the bridge of an intergalactic tanker, was given this sensuous hotel as its engine and the huge form was expertly landed on the Hungerford Bridge so that it spanned the Thames.” would lay down a higher standard for the architects of her time and our future.

Hadid’s success came from her unorthodox approach of the architectural drawings in her paintings, leaving typical outlooks like plans, elevation, and sections aside. Her paintings strayed completely from traditional styles, almost neglecting the viewers a sense of up, down, side, or front, allowing different perspectives of the people to run free. Zada did not want to stay safe or conventional, she took risk that almost certainly were to impress from some viewpoint, “…the paintings refused any typical hierarchies of scale, abandoning distinctions between furniture, buildings, cities, and landscape.” These early multi-perspective paintings were purposely made to stir up ideas, however obviously these were never the finished product or structure she was designing for. These large, open possibility artworks also served as a puzzle piece for any other design that would potentially match or fit together. Innovation and innovation could have the chance to combine as one in a sense. As time passed bye, Hadids early projects floated into one another, creating a single painting called “The World (89 Degrees) of 1983” , with individual designs becoming tectonic plates that molded into one. Similar to this, the wrinkled crust of new planets forming one structure in space is what created the term “Planetary Architecture.” Designing early projects that would stray away from shut off or an aspect of completeness allows early ideas to flow into one another, being one of the few reasons Zaha is able to innovate successfully.

As Hadid continued down her promising life, she eventually proposed an entry at the Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong, for a mountainside club design. The large amount of 600 applicants shows sense of urgency and severity in the details that would be required to win such a competition. Hadid’s design presented a new architectural work, “Suprematist geology” which correlated between her student projects in Utopia and the Vitra Fire Station. The proposed design would cut into the mountainside, having two large beams holding studio apartments glide into the the gash, extending outside the exterior of the mountainside. The gap between the two frameworks is the centerpiece that gave Zaha freedom to play with, eventually leading to a suspended hotel with a swimming pool installed in the center of the design. The design was never actually constructed and was presented at the New York Museum of Modern Art. This distinctive approach that denied all normal architectural static designs provided Zaha Hadid with the top product out of all 600 entries, acting as a very pivotal piece of work that would put her on international levels of architecture.

In 1993, Hadid completed yet another, very large noteworthy project called the Vitra Fire Station. Around this time, there were gust of hatred drawing near Hadid that attempted to hinder her speedy success. Multiple individuals from Cardiff, UK, took act with a national funding institution called the Millennium Commission in London, aiming to postpone and cancel the Cardiff Bay Opera House Zaha had won in 1994. With 268 other entries that included 4 experienced architects, Hadid went above and beyond to ensure this competition would only challenge her to work harder. With the gradual introduction of computers, computational processes and visuals of design, fabrication, and representation, would only increase Hadid’s progress of producing more realistic visual models. Her already attained natural ability to represent realism in her paintings, allowed her to greatly expand the definition of architectural design through this technology. This is where her work started to appear less like a Suprematist imagination, and more like a new attainable practicality. The Vitra fire station became Hadid’s first built and completed project, located in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, the station would act as a museum for the future. With her first large project successfully complete, came the joy of accomplishment and the desire to shoot for bigger stars.

Two major designs caught the attention of contractors during 1998 and 1999, potentially allowing Zaha to have projects established into the new century. The new Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the new Bergisel Ski-Jump in Innsbruck, Austria. Both have extraordinary aspects that would stand out to any user or individual who experiences the structure.

Inside the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art is the oddly yet efficient transportation of pedestrians, “Perhaps the most remarkable element in architect Zaha Hadid’s Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati is the handling of pedestrian traffic through the building.” The pathway starts with the entrance that holds the “urban carpet” of concrete which connects from the sidewalk and tilts upward towards the lobby floor to create a wall that connects from the top and bottom of the atrium. In front of the urban carpet are dark colored ramps that vary repeatedly to bring pedestrians up towards the art galleries. Hadid describes the urban carpet and ramps as a connection the structures urban setting, while interacting with the nature of the art in display, “The urban carpet and ramps are typically dynamic devices for Hadid that connect the building to its urban setting, animate one’s passage through the Center, and respond to the nature of the art displayed in the building.” Hadid stylistic approach to adding such a large ramp may have been influenced by three previous architects: Hadid admires, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Their version of the structural ramp was used to control circulation of pedestrians throughout the building, providing an intense movement of individuals throughout the ramp. The ordered movement of people provides a dynamic and interesting visual appeal to individuals on the opposite side. The Rosenthal Center has even other characteristics that provide a strong sense of originality in the design of the architectural structure. It included many intriguing items, “The Rosenthal Center has many of Hadid’s signature design elements, including loft-like gallery spaces around an eccentric core, public spaces brought into the building, and shapes extending out into the city.”, offering 11,000 square-feet of walking space. Being in the heart of Cincinnati, Hadid was limited and bounded by the different rules and space of the deep city, something many architect’s choose not to tamper with. Hadid considered this tight project as a opportunity to “…carry out her desire to provide a fluid conduit between the street and building…” which she believes is one of the main objectives of urban architecture. The Center for Contemporary Art finally opened in 2003, being Hadid’s first complete building in the United States of America while continuously receiving praise from multiple writers. Muschamp from the New York Times commented, “…the most important American building to be completed since the end of the cold war,” whilst also mentioning that the building Hadid’s ambition to insert herself into difficult situations only to overcome them shows why I believe she deserves the utmost recognition.

Hadids second project around this time was aimed to improve a previously running establishment atop Bergisel Mountain. The Ski Jump was originally constructed in 1926, serving as a hotspot for multiple Winter Olympic competitions in 1964 and 1976. There was still heavy use when it wasn’t being used for the Olympics, causing wear and tear for the many years it was being used. The original ski jump was no longer able to meet the requirements of modern day international standards, forcing the construction plans for a complete replacement. The new Bergisel Ski jump required a numerous new features to be added, including new public spaces in the facility, a new viewing terrace that included a cafe, all alongside the specialized sports program. The Austrian Ski Federation looked create something more than just a athletic structure, but to incorporate it as a new monument as well. This foreshadowed for an international design competition hosted by the Austrian Ski Federation in 1999, where Zaha Hadid placed 1st place in the competition that same year.

Get a Personal "An Overview Of Zaha Hadid" Tailored Essay For You in 3 Hours!

100% Customized to Your Need with Expert Writers


Zaha, gained respect and an increased reputation from her previous designs, using any racism and sexualism faced beforehand as fuel for winning even more competitions. The new proposed ski jump was designed to blend alongside the mountain, measuring 90 meters long and about 50 meters over the peak of Bergisel Mountain. Any requirements was pushed as tightly as possible into the slimist design, molded into one mass with a ski ramp moving up the curve of the mountain. The structure is basically just a figure of a tower and bridge, or what Hadid describes as an, “Organic Hybrid”. The Ski Jumps numerous components combined as one seamless mass was not encouraged by the institution, but was simply representing the speed and slickness of Ski jumping through a flowing motion of mass aimed to express the very nature of the sport it facilitates. A tall concrete structure protruding that forms a seven-meter square platform has two base elevators elevating pedestrians from the base of the tall structure to the newly installed cafe. The cafe was located 40 meters above the tip of the mountain, giving a scenic view of the neighboring peaks, also being part of the larger space of the structure which connected to the public spaces and ski ramp as one visually. The structure as a whole provided a complete 360 view only uninterrupted by casual clouds of fog. Whilst the structure provided a modern slick design, the design was still frowned upon by locals who believed Hadid’s slick, eye catching architectural feat should not hover over their traditional city. The city of Innsbruck’s streets are plastered with buildings dating years back to its medieval origins, while scattered monuments from 1420 still stand tall across the town. As expected, the modern approach to the new ski jump overlooking the city was perceived as out of place, however construction still continued. Hadid’s monument opened to the public in 2002, establishing itself as the new center of constant activity similar to its previous edition. Whether visitors are enjoying a warm coffee 50 meters above Bergisel Mountain or athletes are skiing below the floating mass, Hadid was able to bring the future to the city of Innsbruck through an increasing skill set of strategy and design.

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

An Overview of Zaha Hadid Essay

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

An Overview Of Zaha Hadid. (2019, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“An Overview Of Zaha Hadid.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2019,
An Overview Of Zaha Hadid. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 Jun. 2023].
An Overview Of Zaha Hadid [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jun 12 [cited 2023 Jun 9]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!


    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!

    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now