Art & Culture Miami History

We can all learn from Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid of 1000 Museum is a woman that made large strides on behalf of all women and built a skyscraper that outshines most if not all on the Miami skyline.

Zaha Hadid, the only woman to have been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Award in 2004. Just four years ago architecture legend, Zaha Hadid passed away. She was the only woman to have been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Award in 2004. A woman that with her determination received an award for her work every year.

The British Iraqui architect brought a new era to the industry, using intricate lines and angles in all her works. It became known as “deconstructivist architecture” because of the many angles and fragmented lines. Her firm, Zaha Hadid Architects built about 950 projects in 44 different countries. These projects ranged from fire stations, to operas, to massive residential buildings. Despite the differences in functionality, Hadid brought the same expertise and distinct features to each one. 

Hadid’s sudden death left 36 unfinished projects. Among them, the 2022 World Cup Stadium, the Antwerp Port House, and the 1000 Museum building. She died of a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis at Mount Sinai Medical Center on March 31, 2016. 

zaha hadid museum building - We can all learn from Zaha Hadid

After seven years of hard work, Hadid’s project in Miami was completed. Where before stood a shattered pawn shop, now stands the luxurious 1000 Museum. This was Hadid’s first residential building project in the West Hemisphere. The 62- story tower with over 90 units is a showstopping 707 feet tall building that features a curved exoskeleton made up of 5,000 pieces of glass-fiber reinforced concrete. This is the first building to use the glass-fiber reinforced concrete as part of the permanent structure of a building in the United States. The 5,000 pieces were shipped from Dubai early in the construction phase of the project.  The building added a new modern flair to Miami and many visits to admire its exquisite structure. 

While Hadid is best known for her architecture, she was also a very successful professor and shoe designer. The woman knew that she had a creative gift, and she did not limit herself. Hadid taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture, and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg. Her shoe line is quite unique as well. In 2013, Hadid designed the Nova shoe that was chroma- plated and featured a heel that measured 16.5 centimeters. It was the first shoe to use rotational molding in its manufacture. 

Hadid did not have an easy life. 

“If you want an easy life don’t be an architect”.

Zaha Hadid
zaha hadid museum - We can all learn from Zaha Hadid

She was born in Baghdad, Iraq. Her father was the co-founder of the National Democratic Party there. In the 1960s, she attended boarding schools in England and Switzerland. Then in 1972, she moved to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

Hadid made many sacrifices to achieve her career success. She never married or had children. She was an Arab and a woman, which she described as a “double-edged sword”. It is very difficult for women to navigate the male-dominated space of architecture and be part of a religious minority. She said, “the moment my woman-ness is accepted, the Arab-ness seems to become a problem.”

This only encouraged her to work harder and take more risks with her work. 

Today let us remember Hadid for the incredible works she has accomplished and the example she left for architects and women around the world. Her career exemplified that one should not limit oneself to fit within a category. Certainly, success comes with big sacrifice, but that is what it takes in this world. The 1000 Museum stands firm today to remind Miami that the hard times will pass, that one must put in the work to get things done, and to believe in the ability of every individual no matter how they identify. 

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