Dame Zaha Hadid is a London-based architect who consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Her work experiments with spatial quality, extending and intensifying existing landscapes in the pursuit of a visionary aesthetic that encompasses all fields of design, ranging from urban scale through to products, interiors and furniture.
Zaha Hadid, the founder of Zaha Hadid
Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and is internationally known for both her
theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects
builds on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the
interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies
in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her
practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to
experimentation with cutting edge technologies.
Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural
Hadid studied architecture at the
Architectural Association from 1972 and was awarded the Diploma Prize in 1977. She became a partner of the Office
for Metropolitan Architecture, taught at the AA with OMA collaborators Rem
Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, and later led her own studio at the AA until 1987. Zaha Hadid’s work of the past 30
years was the subject of critically-acclaimed retrospective exhibitions at New
York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006, London’s Design Museum in 2007 and
the Palazzo della Ragione, Padua, Italy in 2009.
She passed away on March 31, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016.
The American University of Beirut (AUB) held an invited competition for the design of a structure to accommodate a modern-day think tank on its lush middle campus, one that was in harmony with the rest of the university, especially mindful of the surrounding greenery, and to preserve, as far as possible, existing sightlines to the Mediterranean. The building had to fit into another stage in the implementation of a master plan for AUB, whose upper campus overlooks the water, and whose lower campus is located on the seafront. The architect responded to the project brief by producing a design that significantly reduces the building's footprint by "floating" a reading room, a workshop conference room and research spaces above the entrance courtyard in the form of a 21-metre-long cantilever in order to preserve the existing landscape. The 3,000 square metre building is defined by the routes and connections within the university; the building emerges from the geometries of intersecting routes as a series of interlocking platforms and spaces for research and discourse. The massing and volume distribution fits very well with the topography, and the nearby Ficus and Cyprus trees are perfectly integrated with the project. The building’s construction is a continuation of the 20th century Lebanese construction culture of working with fair-faced concrete.