Some thoughts on Zaha Hadid

Architecture titan Zaha Hadid died suddenly last week, and the news kinda shook me up more than expected. I’ve only come to learn about Hadid’s work recently, mostly be reading excoriating articles by people who clearly hate her. I don’t hate her, nor her work. I think her stuff is utterly remarkable. But you only have to poke around a site like Dezeen for about two minutes to discover that she is polarising, to say the least.

Anyway, I’ve sort of been following her work for the past year or so, reading about the controversy over the Japan stadium, that sort of thing. The tributes have been pouring in and people are saying much nicer things about her now. She was a visionary, and difficult, but geez, she was a woman, and an Arab woman at that, on the global architecture stage. If she didn’t rattle some boxes she never would have got anywhere.

I assumed – in that way we do – that because I’ve only just found out about her she’ll be around forever. And then she died. Suddenly. I felt something similar when I discovered how much I like Robert Palmer’s music, and then remembered that he’d died the year before. But I’ve only just discovered him! I thought, like I have some right as to who lives and dies in the crazy world.

Anyway, Zaha Hadid. Hated by so many people. Bigger than life. Extraordinary woman. Is that why they hated her? And you can’t help asking the question, Who will they hate now?

zaha hadid

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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