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Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Architects, London Aquatics Centre, 2011, London. Photo: Hufton + Crow. © Zaha Hadid Architects.

WHEN I LAST SAW my friend Zaha Hadid, it was a few weeks before her death, at the Yale School of Architecture. We liked being together when we taught, so over the years we managed to arrange our schedules to be at Yale at the same time so that we could meet and greet and talk and drink and complain and have fun.

I first met Zaha many years ago, when she had just been announced to the world as the winner of the competition for the Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong. The drawings and paintings that she produced for her project were mesmerizing and suggested a new idea, a new world, for architecture. Her style was clearly grounded in Constructivism, a movement that had inspired me for years, but Zaha’s personal touch gave it a new freedom, a new engagement, a new opportunity. And wow.

At that time, I was working for the Vitra furniture company on their campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany.

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