Zaha Hadid © Giovanna SilvaZaha Hadid (1950–2016) was an architect who consistently pushed the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Her work experimented with new spatial concepts intensifying existing urban landscapes in the pursuit of a visionary aesthetic that encompasses all fields of design, ranging from urban scale through to products, interiors and furniture. Best known for her seminal built works (Vitra Fire Station, Land Formation-One, Bergisel Ski-Jump, Strasbourg Tram Station, the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, the Hotel Puerta America (interior) in Madrid, the Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Copenhagen, and the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, her central concerns involved a simultaneous engagement in practice, teaching and research.

Hadid studied architecture at the Architectural Association from 1972 and was awarded the Diploma Prize in 1977. She then became a partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, taught at the AA with OMA collaborators Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, and later led her own studio at the AA until 1987. Since then she held the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture, Chicago; guest professorships at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg; the Knolton School of Architecture, Ohio and the Masters Studio at Columbia University, New York. In addition, she was made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture and Commander of the British Empire, 2002. Hadid passed away in Miami, FL, on March 31, 2016.