2016/03/31 | The Schelling Architecture Foundation deeply mourns the loss of Zaha Hadid (1950-2016)

zaha hadid schelling

With her early work Zaha Hadid ideally suited the goals of the Schelling Foundation: to promise an irrepressable vision of a future architecture. While its realization only took place much later after she received the Schelling Architecture Award in 1994, this vision became increasingly assured with each building. Her career began with the Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, and with the Science Center in Wolfsburg Zaha Hadid and her office set a sign for a jump in scale. Leaving behind the flowing spaces and forms of the small projects, Zaha Hadid turned to cultural buildings and urban design. She was able to realize her visions in Cincinnati, Rome and Guangzhou, to name but a few cities in which she built, always controversially discussed and received.

Publically she appeared like a diva; privately she was a genuine and urbane person. Her rise to fame, at first generously supported by sponsors such as Alvin Boyarsky, the then director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where she taught, was hard fought. With her early competition designs, reminiscent of the Russian Constructivists, she was derided as a paper architect. She unswervingly absorbed the skills of construction and mastered it according to her worldview. She meticulously pursued design processes and their translation into structures and details. Zaha Hadid created a multipolar, dynamic architecture fitting for a globalized civilization; and with it, she transcended stuffy provincialism, straight-laced postmodernism, feel-good reconstructionitis, banal corporate development and saturated neo-Biedermeier.

A pioneer in the social and spatial sense of Erich Mendelsohn, Antonio Sant’Elia and Hans Scharoun has departed from us much too early.