Zaha Hadid’s embrace of deconstruction potential

The late Zaha Hadid, the “Queen of the Curve”, is considered the most successful female architect in history,

a continuation of the Deconstructive Architecture Review series, which designed the Heydar Aliyev Center and London Aquatics Centre.

The defining moment for the late British-Iraqi architect came when in 1983, at the age of 32;

she won an architecture competition to design the private The Peak Club in Kowloon Hills, Hong Kong.

The summit’s Hadid panels feature bold angles, vertigo-inducing views, and a gravity-defying cantilever,

all emerging from a “man-made mountain”, and were a powerful showcase for the possibilities of deconstruction.

Although the scheme was never built, it was a testament to what to expect from the future architect.

It was this design that shaped Hadid’s contribution to the Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1988,

where she appeared alongside (Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, and Cobb Himmelb) at left.

Deconstructivism, as defined in the exhibition texts, also referred to architecture that married the aesthetic of modernity with the radical geometry of the Russian avant-garde.

For Hadid, this approach was particularly important, as it gave her the opportunity to explore the kinds of forms used by the Russian structural painters she loved, including Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin.


Zaha Hadid's embrace of deconstruction potential

Inspired by Russian painters

This fascination began in the 1970s, when Hadid was studying at the Architectural Association in London.

AA was at the time a hotbed of ideas, but Hadid was part of a rebellion calling for more emphasis on drawing as a tool for conceptual development.

Supported by then-director Alvin Boyarsky – who remained a close friend until his death in 1990 –

she led the charge for a more radical approach to architectural expression.

“I found the traditional system of architectural drawing to be restrictive and was looking for a new medium of representation,

” Hadid wrote in an editorial for RA Magazine, accompanying the Malevich exhibition in 2014.

In Malevich in particular, Hadid saw painting as a means of capturing a sense of weightlessness,

and using it to generate dynamism and complexity in architecture.

She illustrated this in a thesis project, where she adapted the shape of Malevich’s sculpture to create a design for a 14-story hotel spanning the Thames.


Zaha Hadid's embrace of deconstruction potential
Zaha Hadid’s embrace of deconstruction potential


Belief in the power of progress

Hadid’s childhood laid the foundations for this experimental spirit.

She was born in Baghdad in 1950, the daughter of the progressive liberal politician Muhammad Hadid.

This was a time of radical modernization and social reform in Iraq, as architects including Le Corbusier,

Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius worked on projects in the capital,

and it was also a place where it was not uncommon for women to become architects.

Here Hadid developed her passion for architecture, inspired by the river landscape and the fluidity with

which she will blend in with buildings and cities.

Hadid attended boarding school in England and completed her mathematics degree at the American

University of Beirut before arriving in London to enroll in the Architectural Association (AA) in 1972.

After graduating, she briefly went on to work with former AA teachers,

Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis of OMA, before founding her own company, Zaha Hadid Architects, in 1979.

Zaha Hadid's embrace of deconstruction potential


From corners to curves

The success of The Peak paved the way for Hadid’s first realized project,

a private fire station for the Vitra Furniture Factory in Weil am Rhein in 1993.

Concrete shards boast striking angles, and their robust construction has pushed the limits of structural possibilities.


For more architectural news


Zaha Hadid Creates Oneiric for Rossinavia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.