Dame Zaha Hadid, one of the world's leading architects, died at the age of 65 early this year. She was born in Iraq, but called the UK home for 40 years. She designed some of the world's most innovative buildings, including the Guangzhou Opera House in China, and the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 What are some of the adjectives that can be applied to Zaha Hadid's buildings?
2 When and where did Zaha train as an architect?
3 What ability did Zaha have that made her emerge as an innovative architect?
4 What shapes has Zaha devised?
5 What building did she devise for the 2012 Olympics?
6 What reputation did Zaha have?
Dame Zaha designed buildings that could look as fluid as mercury while appearing as light as a leaf. Sumptuous parabolic shapes became a trademark of her architecture aesthetic, leading to her being called the Queen of the curve. Her creations were always eye-catching, often jaw-dropping and sometimes controversial.
People forgot what you can do with a modern work. You know, where was an obsession with the star system, a vernacular, post-modern, so the idea of new was almost alien.
Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad and studied maths at university before moving to London in the 70s to train as an architect. She set up her own practise shortly afterwards, then found there were no takers for her avant-garde ideas.
I was a woman, I did strange stuff, I think it all together intertwined but… There definitely has been and still remains… it’s much better now, there’s a definite stigma to… about the woman thing.
It was this cubist-inspired building in Germany that proved to be her big breakthrough. Soon her ability to mix old school craft skills with revolutionary new computer programmes saw her emerge as one of the most exciting and innovative architects of her generation.
I think she has added an enormous amount of language to architecture. She's devised shapes that we never thought we could do and never thought that any architect could do. And that is something, you know. There's a lot of architecture that's sort of variant on the architectures that’s come before but she did shapes that gob-smacked you.
Her visual flamboyance proved popular abroad but less so in the UK, her adoptive home, where she really only made her mark on the public consciousness with her Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics.
To be accepted as an architect and I think it’s… I'm not sure it’s fully done, not here, not in this country. I'm still considered to be on the margin, you know, despite all these things. And I don't mind being on the edge, actually. It's a good place to be.
She had a reputation for being short-tempered and difficult, while some of her buildings were criticised for being impractical and overblown. There is no doubt she was uncompromising, a characteristic that allowed her to overcome prejudice and scepticism to design some truly remarkable buildings which received multiple awards.
Dame Zaha Hadid was a trailblazing visionary. She leaves behind an extraordinary body of work to be marvelled at by generations.
1 eye-catching, often jaw-dropping and sometimes controversial
2 London in the 70's
3 her ability to mix old school craft skills with revolutionary new computer programmes
4 shapes that we never thought we could do (and never thought that any architect could do)
5 the Aquatics Centre
6 a reputation for being short-tempered and difficult, and she was uncompromising