Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, died of a heart attack this morning in a Miami hospital where she was reportedly being treated for bronchitis. She was 65.
The Iraqi-born architect was among the most prominent design figures worldwide. Her buildings include the London Aquatics Centre (used in the 2012 Summer Olympics), the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in Germany, China's Guangzhou Opera House, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
"We now see more established female architects all the time," she upon accepting the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal—which she was also the first woman to win—earlier this year. "That doesn't mean it's easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress."
Hadid grew up in Baghdad and studied at the American University of Beirut before transferring to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She worked for her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, at their firm in the Netherlands, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and became a partner there in 1977. In 1979, she established her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London. She was in 2012 and is now known for buildings from New York to Azerbaijan; Hadid also had about a dozen in progress. Her furniture designs are highly coveted, and recently, the architect expanded into jewelry, with Georg Jensen at
In a citation of her work, written just a few months ago, architect Peter Cook said of his friend and colleague: "It is perhaps a little lonely there up at the top, surrounded now by some very considerable talent in the office, but feared somewhat and distanced from the young. Yet in private Zaha is gossipy and amusing, genuinely interested in the work of talented colleagues who do very different architecture."
You can read her firm's official statement on her passing .
A look back at some of her most iconic designs: