Today a profound leader in architecture and design, Zaha Hadid, passed away. There was more inventive, provocative work yet to come from her spirit, but now it will have to come from those who have learned from and been inspired by her.
Her contributions to the global architecture and design community have been significant. She pushed our understanding of architecture and how it is made. Her formalistic conceptions inspired us. More than that, they challenged and even threatened us. Whether we shared her view or understood architecture in different terms, she made us believe in something greater. Her architecture somehow makes us more alive.
In her generous spirit, Ms. Hadid also contributed to our NewSchool community here in San Diego. In 2015, she donated two ‘napkin sketches’ to NewSchool’s Fourth Annual Napkin Sketch Auction, which was organized by and raised funds for our chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). Her two sketches, which were demonstrative of her approach to architecture, are a blend of an aesthetic derived from new technology and an instinct for the dramatic. They had the 3rd- and 4th-highest auction prices.
As a woman in the field, she asserted leadership in a dramatic fashion. To be an architect is to choose a difficult path. To realize the work Zaha Hadid did seems almost impossible. Yet, it stands as a reminder of the power of the human will.
Thank you, Zaha Hadid, for providing a model for the significance of women contributing to the development of the profession. The sum of your work, and the office structure you established to accomplish it, will forever influence the discourse on architecture for generations. You have become a measure of our culture.
-Marvin Malecha, President and Chief Academic Officer