Dame Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born British architect whose soaring structures left a mark on skylines and imaginations around the world and in the process reshaped architecture for the modern age, died in Miami on Thursday. She was 65.
Ms. Hadid contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in the hospital, her office, Zaha HadidArchitects in London, said.
She was not just a rock star and a designer of spectacles. She also liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity. Geometry became, in her hands, a vehicle for unprecedented and eye-popping new spaces but also for emotional ambiguity. Her buildings elevated uncertainty to an art, conveyed in the odd ways one entered and moved through those buildings and in the questions her structures raised about how they were supported.
Her work, with its formal fluidity — also implying mobility, speed, freedom — spoke to a worldview widely shared by a younger generation. “I am non-European, I don’t do conventional work and I am a woman,” she once told an interviewer. “On the one hand all of these things together make it easier — but on the other hand it is very difficult.”
Strikingly, Ms. Hadid never allowed herself or her work to be pigeonholed by her background or her gender. Architecture was architecture: it had its own reasoning and trajectory. And she was one of a kind, a path breaker. In 2004, she became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s Nobel; the first, on her own, to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, Britain’s top architectural award, in 2015. You can see a lot more of her work, here.