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April 4, 2016
"It must never have occurred to Zaha Hadid to be anything other than an original — an original in her bold sense of self, in her inclination to defeat convention, in her determination to overwrite the norm, in her playful designs, in her exceptional architecture, and in her remarkable life.
Wherever Zaha went, there was energy around her, a creative force that settled, though not always comfortably, into inventive and dazzling form. Who among us didn't enjoy looking up through a space she created, in awe of its improbability? Who didn't want to try on one of her giant swirling bracelets or hyper-elongated rings? Zaha was a spell-caster whose visions became material, and influential.
In her architecture, Zaha was indeed prolific: Vitra, Guangzhou, Baku, Cincinnati, Abu Dhabi, Rome, London, Qatar, among others, and on to New York. She left many works still to be finished, while bestowing an indelible impression that is likely to become legend.
It should be more than an asterisk that Dame Zaha Hadid was, and did all this as, not just an architect but also a woman. Women in architecture as in many other historically male-dominated fields remain woefully underrepresented. The broad sweep of Zaha's ceiling-shattering accomplishments may not be surpassed for a long time, but she has already widened the wedge that holds doors open for others — women in particular — who believe in the beauty, power and transformative impact of design."
Marilyn Jordan Taylor
Dean and Paley Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Design