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White Gray Black

Zaha Hadid (British, born Iraq 1950)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

British architect, designer and teacher, of Iraqi birth. She studied at the Architectural Association, London, from 1972 to 1977 and then joined the Office for Metropolitan Architecture founded by Rem Koolhaas, one of her teachers; there she worked on the Dutch Parliament Building extension (1978), The Hague. In 1979 she opened her own practice in London, designing a flat in Eaton Place that won a gold medal from Architectural Design in 1982. She also began teaching at the Architectural Association (1980–87). During the 1980s she entered several architectural competitions, winning those for the Hong Kong Peak (1983), the Kurfürstendamm (1986), Berlin, and for an art and media centre in Düsseldorf (1989). She also designed furniture and interiors (1985) for Bitar, London, and interiors (1990) for the Monsoon Restaurant, Sapporo, Japan. Her work seeks to develop the traditions of Modernism; it is inspired by Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism, but perhaps most profoundly by the Suprematism of Kazimir Malevich: she believed that the possibilities inherent in the work of such figures as Malevich had only begun to be realized. Sometimes described as ‘Neo-Suprematist’ and as resembling spaceships, her designs are typified by fragmented convex geometrical forms that engage and define the space around them, incorporating a Futurist sense of dynamic movement. Many of her ideas were executed as large oil paintings (e.g. Night and Day, c. 1985), an urban landscape where space seems to be folding back over itself. While such works often contain an element of fantasy, Hadid insisted on the buildability of her projects, an assessment confirmed by her engineering consultants. Nevertheless few of her major designs of the 1980s were built. Her first significant constructed work was the Vitra fire station (1989–93) at Weil am Rhein, Germany, which has been described as having the appearance of ‘an exploding set of parallelograms’ (Winter, 1993), containing the sharp angles of her previous designs and including large expanses of glass. From a distance its roof line resembles the wings of a bird; the interior reflects the tension between space and form familiar in her unexecuted designs. Hadid continued to teach in universities around the world, including Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, where she held the Kenzō Tange Chair at the Graduate School of Design. In 1994 she won the important Cardiff Bay Opera House competition.

Walter Smith
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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