The first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Zaha Hadid was an Iraqi-born, London-based architect whose designs were impressive both technically and aesthetically. With the nickname “Queen of Curve,” Hadid’s innovative creations often included multiple perspective points and flowing structural formations. Her works include the aquatic center for the 2012 London Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in the U.S., and the opera house in Guangzhou, China. Although the technical merits of her work in a male-dominated industry were widely recognized, she regularly battled sexism in the field, including consistent commentary on her appearance and descriptions of her confidence as headstrong and diva-like—characterizations never applied to her male colleagues. Her tenacity is what made her successful as an architect, inspiring more women to enter the field.
Illustration by Kaye Blegvad. Blegvad is an illustrator and general maker-of-things, born and raised in London and now based in Brooklyn.
This article originally appeared in the Wild issue. For more inspiring stories about women, check out What I Learned as a Woman Traveling Alone and The Journey of a Female Sommelier: From Paris to New York.
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