Just before the 1st Award ceremony by WADe India to recognize the Role Models and Emerging Young Women Architects & Designers, Ar. Sanjay Puri, Principal, Sanjay Puri Architects Mumbai paid an emotional tribute to Zaha Hadid, which has put the audience to pin drop silence.
He said, “Generally, men are not known to shed tears. And it is rare that a man would shed tears for someone whom he has not met or known in life. This is what happened to me when I heard that Zaha Hadid has passed away.” After a deep pause, he continued speaking…
What really can one say as a tribute to a woman architect and not just a woman, an architect who transcended all boundaries of design what has been done before. She literally broke across so many barriers in designing completely fluid spaces.
We all grew up studying Roman style and Byzantine style of architecture. Future generation will study Zaha Hadid style, so radically different from what anybody else has ever done before. She went way beyond all boundaries…
How many of you know that Zaha Hadid has completed her whole course in Mathematics before she actually decided to be an architect? While most of us have completed studying Architecture by the age of 22-23. She studied architecture from the age of 22-27 and her interest in architecture arose from her deep understanding and love for mathematics & science. By studying what magnetic forces can do and by mapping those magnetic forces to create something that was so fluid and so challenging, has been at the core of her architectural conceptualization.
Imagine the level of perseverance because at the age of 44 Zaha finally got her first commission at Vitra Fire Station. It is diffcult to imagine what she might had to go through- (A) for being a woman and (B) having designed things that have been so radically different that people thought they were not buildable.
“Generally, men are not known to shed tears. And it is rare that a man would shed tears for someone whom he has not met or known in life. This is what happened to me when I heard that Zaha Hadid has passed away.”
Initially she shot to fame with her drawings and this is when people got to know of her abilities. Her architectural drawings were so beautiful that one could actually hang them as pieces of art. Many years ago, Zaha exhibited her paintings in London. I was deeply mesmerized to see them. Her drawings had so much life! You could actually feel energy flowing out from the canvas.
How could someone visualize such things? These were some of the buildings of her early career. With each building she had gone past boundaries that she had set for herself. So with each building it became more fluid, more dynamic. The spaces became more radically different than what one could perceive before.
Take a look at what she left , currently- 950 projects in 44 countries. There are a lot of commercial firms with more projects but having 950 unique projects in 44 countries and 400 staff , is something diffcult to imagine.
Just after 10 years of her first building, she became the first woman architect to be awarded the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize of Architecture. For two consecutive years, she won Stirling Prize. Her huge list of awards and recognitions were all most prestigious. Simultaneously while designing these buildings she was teaching as a lecturer at various institutes across the world. Her signature style can be seen in every single thing she has designed from Shoes to Jewelleries, Furniture pieces, Automobile to Watches etc. I wonder how she had managed time for all these things!
An interesting thing to note is, in 1977 when she completed her schooling at AA School of Architecture, she was made an associate of Rem Koolhaas and at that time she had set up a Design Research Lab (DRL) which is still there till date. I am not quali_ ed to give the tribute to somebody who is so… beyond what most architects are. No words can completely describe Zaha Hadid’s journey and her achievements. But the great thing is that her work is going to live on. There would be Architecture which is Pre Zaha and that which is Post Zaha. To sum it up, I would share one of her own thoughts, a one liner,
“There are 360 degrees so why stick to one?”
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