Take for instance the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan. The white roof of the 243-foot tall building nearly looks to be undulating as you canvas the site. It’s a deliberate contrast to the area’s former Soviet Union urbanism and a beacon of change for the future.
After studying mathematics at the American University in Beirut, Hadid moved to London in 1972 to further her education at the Architectural Association (AA). Graduating in 1977, she would later return to the AA to teach alongside her former instructors Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis—both of whom she collaborated with at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam. Though Hadid would go on to open her own practice in London in 1980, the world of academia never left her gaze. She was often recognized as a theoretician constantly pushing the boundaries of architecture and urban design.
Hadid first rose to industry prominence in 1982, having been awarded the bid to design the Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong. A “man made polished granite mountain,” the leisure and recreational center was meant to house various activities within subterranean spaces and floating horizontal expanses — unfortunately, the project was never realized.
Among Hadid’s unfinished projects is the One Thousand Museum residential high-rise in Miami — envisioned as a “continuous piece of contemporary sculpture” complete with luxury amenities like a helipad and custom scenting, slated for completion in 2018.
An impressive woman by any standard, Hadid is in the company of few other leading female figures of contemporary architecture. Throughout her career and long after her unexpected passing on March 31, 2016, she will remain both a controversial and innovative pioneer in the industry.
Written by Sheila Lam
Headline photo of the Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku, Azerbaijan) by Ramil Aliyev/Shutterstock