Remembering the legendary Zaha Hadid in her most memorable words

What a shocking moment for the World. The British-Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, passed away today at the age of 65 in Miami after contracting bronchitis and suffering a heart attack.

At the young age of 65, she's an icon we took comfort in being around for a while, witnessing as she concocts architectural marvels around the world. It's a strange moment for students, architects, Arabs - and everyone, really, to hear of her sudden death just at the height of her career, considering that she's been dubbed the top female architect in the world (and arguably, in all-time history).

Zaha Hadid Portrait
The Telegraph
News of her death has already been received with the same bittersweet energy that commemorated late mass icons like David Bowie on social media. Considering that few architects have been celebrated in the same way by those outside the industry, Zaha Hadid's influence is outstanding and will without a doubt continue to make it to the textbooks of the next century.

Beyond her architectural feats, Hadid was known for her insights on feminism and her opinions on Iraq and the Middle East (for the most part, expressed in her temperamental and blunt character).

In remembrance of the fallen legend, take a look at some of her most insightful words.


"There are 360 degrees. Why stick to one?”

"Obviously for some people there is a big connection between music and the way you can create a space."

"The spirit of adventure to embrace the new and the incredible belief in the power of invention attracted me to the Russian avant-garde."

"I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think."

"It's very important that historic cities are allowed to reinvent their future."

"I have always appreciated designers who dare to reinterpret fabrics and proportions, so I follow the Japanese and Belgian designers. The pieces are so animated. When they lie still, they are one thing, but once you stand them up or wear them, they become something else."

"People say I design architectural icons. If I design a building and it becomes an icon, that's ok."

"Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society."

"I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think."

"I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels; now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape, to flow together with contemporary cities and the lives of their peoples."

"I find industrial cities exciting. I like their toughness."

"It’s been a great moment for the past 10 or 15 years. I am always very wary, because I think the pragmatists, the conservatives, are always lurking around the scenes, happy to leap out any minute and scuttle anything interesting."

"When it is booming in America, they like architecture; when it is not booming, they don’t. That’s why I say, as an architect, you are in the hands of fate."

"Architecture is how the person places herself in the space. Fashion is about how you place the object on the person."

"Architecture is unnecessarily difficult. It's very tough."


"If it doesn't kill you, then you're no good. I mean, really - you have to go at it full time. You can't afford to dip in and out."

"I will never give myself the luxury of thinking, 'I've made it.'"

"Some of the best ideas came out of working against time, without client intervention, in a different kind of space mentally."


"People don't talk to you properly. It's the way they talk to you; they dismiss you. I think it's a combination of me being a woman and a foreigner."

"As a woman, you're not accessible to every world."

"In Iraq, many of my female friends were architects and professionals with a lot of power during the 1980s while all the men were at war in Iran."

"Yes, I'm a feminist, because I see all women as smart, gifted and tough."

"Would they call me a diva if I were a guy?"

"I used to not like being called a 'woman architect.' I'm an architect, not just a woman architect. The guys used to tap me on the head and say 'you're OK for a girl.' But I see an incredible amount of need from other women for reassurance that it can be done, so I don't mind anymore."

"I am sure that as a woman I can do a very good skyscraper."

"When I taught, all my best students were women."

"When women do succeed, the press, even the industry press, spend far too much time talking about how we dress, what shoes we're wearing, who we're meant to be seeing. That's pretty sad for women, especially when it's written by women who really should know better."

"In another way, I can be my own worst enemy. As a woman, I'm expected to want everything to be nice, and to be nice myself. A very English thing. I don't design nice buildings - I don't like them. I like architecture to have some raw, vital, earthy quality."

"Architecture is particularly difficult for women; there's no reason for it to be. I don't want to blame men or society, but I think it was for a long time, the clients were men, the building industry is all male."


"I miss aspects of being in the Arab world - the language - and there is a tranquility in these cities with great rivers. Whether it's Cairo or Baghdad, you sit there and you think, 'This river has flown here for thousands of years.' There are magical moments in these places."

"I am quite sensitive to politics, because you know, as an Arab, an Iraqi, all your life, you are very conscious of it."

"I will always have two regrets. I don't have a presence in London, and I would have liked to have done more work in the Middle East."

"When I was growing up in Iraq, there was an unbroken belief in progress and a great sense of optimism. It was a moment of nation building."

"Being Iraqi taught me to be very cautious."

[On Iraq] "The beauty of the landscape - where sand, water, reeds, birds, buildings, and people all somehow flowed together - has never left me."

"I come from Iraq, and there were many Christians there and lots of Jews and Muslims. I am a Muslim who went to a nun’s school, and for six years of my life, I crossed my heart. There was no difference between the Christians and the Muslims."

"Contrary to popular view, I've never been patronized in the Middle East. Men maybe treat women differently, but they do not treat them with disrespect. They don't hate women. It's a very different kind of mentality."

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