When Zaha Hadid passed away from a heart attack in March, the world mourned one of its most groundbreaking architects. Hadid is an anomaly in architecture, were women still face a persistent glass ceiling. Although most architecture programs draw an almost 50/50 split between men and women, only 18% of licensed architects are women. Hadid’s work was so outstanding and groundbreaking she forced the world to take note.
Hadid’s buildings are not square boxes designed on a computer. She drew by hand, and then asked technology to catch up with her. She did pioneering work in parametric design, which utilizes software algorithms to test and stretch parameters of certain forms. This spawned its own style, called parametricism. One of Hadid’s memorable comments about the way she saw architecture was “People think that the most appropriate building is a rectangle… but the world is not a rectangle.”
Fire Station, Germany
In 1993, Hadid’s design for a fire station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, became her first smash hit, vaulting her to fame. The fire station is functional but also highly conceptual, made of concrete and metal shards.