Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid dies suddenly at 65

Fri Apr 1, 2016 3:29am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, whose fluid, futuristic designs were used in buildings across the world to widespread acclaim, has died of a heart attack at the age of 65, her company said on Thursday.

Hadid, whose projects included the MAXXI museum in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre used in the 2012 summer Olympics and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, died suddenly in Miami, Zaha Hadid Architects said in a statement.

"She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital," the company said.

Born in Baghdad, she went to boarding schools in England and Switzerland before studying mathematics at the American University of Beirut. She turned to architecture in London in the 1970s, establishing her own practice in 1979.

"Architects are crazy. We do all-nighters, we used to do five nights no sleep," she told BBC radio last month. "You are very exhausted so there's a bit of delirium sets in."

Few of her geometrically complex designs in the 1980s and 1990s were realized, but she refused to compromise.

Her company's design was chosen for the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympic stadium but was scrapped due to ballooning costs. Critics had derided it as reminiscent of a bicycle helmet or drooping oyster and out of sync with the neighborhood.

"It's very important in the main idea nothing gets diluted," she said of a factory she designed for BMW in Leipzig, Germany.

"If you do public buildings ... it is very important to bring these magic moments which we find through buildings or landscapes, or when we look at something amazing."   Continued...

File photo of renowned international architect Zaha Hadid arriving at a ground-breaking ceremony for her residential tower in Miami December 5, 2014.   REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity