Visionary Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid passed away last week, leaving a legacy of incredible buildings such as the amorphous, sweeping curves of the lauded London Aquatics Centre, and futuristic plans for an otherworldly stadium to host matches during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Less familiar to many people are her paintings: dizzying, crystalline, fragmented perspectives and spacious conceptions. While most architects favour the use of hand-drawn sketches, pen and ink drawings, and watercolour renderings to visualise their ideas, Hadid chose to take her imaginative explorations of space to the level of fine art. Her concepts, some of which are purely theoretical, are a cut above the more prosaic and solely diagrammatical drawings seen by many of her contemporaries, and the influence of constructivism on her work is evident in the way she chose to map three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional plane.
I was lucky enough to catch her extensive 2007 exhibition at London’s Design Museum – a former banana warehouse that she went on to buy in 2013, rededicating its purpose to champion architectural achievement. The show presented a grand array of both paintings and furniture, all with Hadid’s unique personal vision; sleek, stylish and fiercely contemporary. It’s a great shame we won’t get to see any more of her fascinating creations, but the quantity and quality of work she produced in her lifetime has made a real mark on the world and will continue to inspire the architectural profession for years to come.