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01 Apr 2016

Zaha Hadid: 1950-2016

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The architect, who died yesterday, will be missed as much for her uncompromising attitude and unwavering drive as her buildings, says Helen Parton

Category: Architecture
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At OnOffice, one of our most successful and most talked about covers was the one for our recent Dec/Jan issue, which featured the Dominion office building in Moscow. With its daringly sweeping curves, the building is typical of Zaha Hadid’s bold, uncompromising style.

Gwen Webber, who wrote the cover story, praised its lightness of touch: “As in all ZHA buildings, the lack of formal structure is one of the most impressive aspects of the Dominion building, but what is different about this structure is its weightlessness. The deep cantilevers and wafer-thin concrete stand in contrast to the thick-set concrete structures and striations found in the China’s Galaxy Soho, the Phaeno Science Centre in Germany and the Pierre Vives government buildings in France.”

It feels an understatement to say Hadid – who died yesterday, aged 65 – was a pioneer, when the word is bandied around so frequently. But she made architecture a talking point outside the industry and challenged all she worked with to be bolder and to make the unthinkable a reality – an outlook that can be seen in all her work, from the Vitra fire station to the London aquatics centre. In a speech at last year's NLA awards, she still wanted London to be braver in the built environment and it's that kind of unwavering drive to make a difference that will be much missed.

Her legacy is not just her buildings but her attitude. And the Dominion epitomised that perfectly.

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