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HAPPENINGText: Christina Merl

Much has been written about Zaha Hadid, the Baghdad-born architect with her reputation for being fierce, uncompromising and abrasive. I am told some architects will decide after only ten minutes that they could never work together with her. However, I’m not an architect and, perhaps if I were, I should feel differently. Because I am pretty sure that Hadid is a genius.

Hadid is the first female architect of global standing. Had she not been so utterly uncompromising, so tough and high-handed, it seems improbable that she could ever have become so influential and started building all over the world. Hadid for the first time received great international recognition in 1983, when she was awarded the first prize in the competition for The Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong. Her first major project to be realised was the Vitra Fire Station, which was completed in 1993.

In the field of architectural experimentation, Zaha Hadid has been a persistent radical for the last twenty years – a visionary, who breaks with conventional forms of building in an uncompromising way. Furthermore the significance of her contribution to present-day architecture can be deduced from a series of buildings which are as ground breaking as they are influential.

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