Zaha Hadid, first woman architect to win Pritzker Prize, dies at 65

Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born London architect whose swooping, strongly sculpted buildings made her an object of both veneration and controversy, has died at age 65.

Hadid - the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, widely regarded as her field's highest honor - died Thursday of a heart attack at a Miami hospital, The Associated Press reported. She was being treated there for bronchitis.

Hadid's best-known designs include two cultural buildings in the Midwest - Cincinnati's Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art and the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University - as well as an opera house in Guangzhou, China, an innovative BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany, and the aquatic center for the 2012 London Olympics.

Though Hadid often complained that she had little work in England, Queen Elizabeth II gave her the title dame in 2012, and this year she became the first woman to win the Royal institute of British Architects' gold medal.

“She was truly a pioneer in the field of architecture,” a spokesman for the Pritzker Prize said in a statement. She “will be remembered for her talent, creativity, commitment, loyalty and friendship.”

Hadid was well-known for her fluid forms as well as her formidable personality. Last September, she cut short a live interview on BBC Radio after her host incorrectly stated that more than 1,200 migrant workers had died while building a soccer stadium designed for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, then asked the architects about her scrapped stadium plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The BBC later apologized.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette