‘“You have to really believe not only in yourself; you have to believe that the world is actually worth your sacrifices.” ~Zaha Hadid, Architect

Summary: Zaha Hadid has become one of the most influential female figures in an otherwise male-dominated industry. Her outstanding contribution to the contemporary architecture has been recognized by the world’s most respected institutions across the world, and her perseverance within the industry has shattered the gender glass ceiling in this industry. She has left a mark of herself and her work in some of the most renowned cities and skylines, including London, Rome, New York City and Guangzhou, China. Her work and success is noted by the most famous publications across the world, including The Guardian and The New Yorker. Many of her buildings are still under construction after her passing in 2016, including the Al Wakrah stadium in Qatar, a venue for 2022 FIFA World Cup. Her legacy continues to live through her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects as well as her mentees.

Nationality: British-Iraqi

Industry: Design

Q: What originally made you want to study architecture and become an architect, and what particular aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies? For example, you have cited Kazimir Malevich as a major artistic influence on your work. How – and to what extent – do other creative fields continue to inform your architecture? on designboom.com

A: Even as a little girl, I wanted to be an architect. my earliest memory of architecture, I was perhaps 6 or 7 years old, was of my aunt building a house in mosul in the north of Iraq. The architect was a close friend of my father’s and he used to come to our house with the drawings and models. I remember seeing the model in our living room and I think it triggered something, as I was completely intrigued by it.