Annabelle Selldorf remembers Zaha Hadid

'She didn't represent the conventional model' says the New York-based architect and Portfolio and Projects subject
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Annabelle Selldorf
Annabelle Selldorf

There's been a lot written about Zaha Hadid in the week since her death at the age of 65. One of the best pieces we've read however, is Carolina A. Miranda's piece in the LA Times. It focuses on Hadid's role and reputation as a female architect and many of the observations it makes are insightful ones backed up by some interesting comments from friends and fellow architects.

As Miranda points out, like any high-profile architect, Hadid was expected to produce strong, functional designs. But as a woman, she also faced the added pressure of having her work interpreted as some sort of gender statement. You'll probably remember that Hadid's design for a Stadium in Qatar, was compared to a vagina - a claim the architect rightly responded to as "ridiculous" adding: “It’s really embarrassing that they come up with nonsense like this. What are they saying? Everything with a hole in it is a vagina?”

 

Zaha Hadid by Mary McCartney
Zaha Hadid by Mary McCartney

In the LA Times piece Annabelle Selldorf, another of the architecture world's great female practitioners, sympathises with Hadid's - and possibly her own - experience by saying:

"You are vulnerable as a woman because there is pressure for what you represent not just for the profession, but in society. She didn't marry. She didn't have a family. She didn't represent the conventional model."

Women have made tremendous gains in architecture since Hadid launched her career in the 1970s. They build towers and design museums and magazine-worthy weekend homes. Yet they still remain sorely underrepresented. Read the LA Times piece here and buy our Annabelle Selldorf book Selldorf Architects Portfolio and Projects, which features  a highly detailed look at the museums, homes and public buildings the firm has designed in the United States and abroad, here.


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