I’m so sad about the death of Zaha Hadid.

A heart attack has claimed yet another life, but not her spirit nor her towering achievements.

Whenever I saw Ms. Hadid on television, most recently on Charlie Rose, I would stop, sit and watch.  Her grand intellect, those formidable eyes like steel beams and her Botticelli stature – and I mean that in the very best sense – leaped out at me and commanded me to bask in her presence, if only through the digital signal.

I’ve visited one of her masterworks, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.  It’s such a BIG, BOLD and concrete testament to inventiveness with its wide, angular ramps and soaring ceilings. I’ve been inside that building a few times and it always knocks me out. 

But then, that’s what Ms. Hadid did, isn’t it?  She knocked us out … not only as an unapologetic human being first and woman second, but also as someone of Iraqi descent who was a British citizen, became a Dame with a capital, “D” and capitalized on her on philosophy of organic, free-form, soaring structures that make you re-think what a building can be.

Her work gives new meaning to the term, “Rock the Casbah.”  This lady rocked the world during a time when it’s not so hospitable to be of Iraqi descent AND she did it in a profession where men still move the levels of power.

I just saw something that said the world of architecture has lost a star.  I want to correct that.  The WORLD has lost a star. Not only did Zaha Hadid push architecture forward, she pushed the WORLD forward by causing us all to re-think our own possibilities as individuals on terra-firma.  Being grounded doesn’t mean you cannot fly. 

Ms. Hadid broke ground literally and metaphorically.  I’m merely a layman admirer of great architecture and I can tell you that her spirit stands taller than her greatest monuments. 

Like most great architects, Zaha Hadid was an artist.  Most people don’t think about architecture in terms of contemporary art, but I think Ms. Hadid was a “Contemporary Art Master.”  Great architecture is greater than great art in some ways because we inhabit it and it engulfs us and nurtures us and teaches us and nourishes us and refuels our spirits for another day of battle in the concrete jungle.

Ms. Hadid knew that.  It shows. Her work speaks loudly and clearly for itself … and for her.  Transcendent.

In short, Zaha Hadid was a BADASS.

Rest in peace.  


Zaha Hadid Website