Born in Baghdad in 1950, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut and went on to work at the Architectural Association in London before opening her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in 1979. In 2004, she became the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize — the most prestigious award in the industry. In 2012, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Her modernist work can be seen all over the world. Highlights include the aquatics center built for the 2012 Olympics in London, the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome.
Hadid is no stranger to the footwear industry, having worked with several brands on both store and shoe designs. She worked with Stuart Weitzman on flagship locations in Milan and Hong Kong, both of which opened in 2014. At the time, Weitzman said that the Hong Kong store in the IFC Mall was the “perfect global platform to offer the uniqueness of Zaha Hadid’s design as a showcase for [the label].”
In 2013, Hadid created a limited-edition haute couture shoe for United Nude, a brand which was co-founded by fellow famed architect Rem Koolhaas.
“Our collaboration with United Nude reinterprets the classic shoe typology, pushing the boundaries of what is possible without compromising integrity,” she said at the time.
She also took part in the brand’s Re-Inventing Shoes exhibit in 2015, which debuted shoes designed by several architects and created using 3D Systems’ technology.
Hadid brought her aesthetic to Lacoste in 2009 when she created a limited edition shoe that featured a pliable, coiled wrap system and a digitized Lacoste logo.
In 2008, she worked with Brazilian brand Melissa Shoes on sculptural plastic shoes that aimed to blur the boundary between the shoe and the foot.
Hadid has collaborated with other fashion brands, including De Beers, Fendi and Swarovski. This year she was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal — the first woman to win this award.
She had been in Miami working on One Thousand Museum, a 62-story luxury residential skyscraper slated to be completed in 2017.