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« before photoshop, there was art | Main | Nadia Myre: owning the Indian Act »
Friday
Apr012016

Zaha Hadid: 2016, some sort of rest at last 

Zaha Hadid Architects, The Peak Leisure Club, Hong Kong, 1983, drawing. One cannot overestimate how influential this project was: it changed by life, stuck in Calgary doing crappy post-modern dormers and classical columns. I hadn't been educated in any of that, The Peak was how I thought. And she had drawn it.

Shocked to hear of Zaha Hadid's death on the RPI overnight service early this morning while trying to sleep in a motel in Revelstoke.  I was shocked; just a couple of weeks ago I'd heard her on Desert Island Discs - surely one of the most interesting people they've had this past year.  She was a worthy, yes, being Dame Zaha Hadid, but her music choices were brilliant, new, Drake alongside Umm Kulthum.  
Kirsty Young asked her what her parents though of the young Zaha wanting to be an architect, and Zaha replied that it was expected that all the women of her generation in Iraq would be professionals: doctors, lawyers, engineers – indeed her entire high school class went on to become professionals.  

How different to the expectations of my high school class, in a small west coast Canadian town.  It wasn't that my parents weren't educated, my father came from a long line of university degrees, but their expectations were probably that I'd be a teacher, despite Dad saying (frequently) that all teachers were useless. The Desert Island interview was pure Zaha as I remember her at the AA: sharp, full of humour delivered deadpan, little patience with people she must have seen as polite, 'nice' but naive and self-effacing, as I was brought up to be.  

It has been a hard row to hoe for any woman of my generation in architecture, even as brilliant as Zaha was – christ, if she had a hard time, think how it was for the rest of us. 

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