Hadid in 2010
|Born||Zaha Mohammad Hadid
31 October 1950
|Died||31 March 2016
Miami, Florida, US
|Alma mater||American University of Beirut
Architectural Association School of Architecture
|Practice||Zaha Hadid Architects|
|Buildings||MAXXI, Bridge Pavilion, Maggie’s Centre, Contemporary Arts Center|
People don't talk to you properly. It's the way they talk to you; they dismiss you. I think it's a combination of me being a woman and a foreigner.
Obviously for some people there is a big connection between music and the way you can create a space.
I'm into fashion because it contains the mood of the day, of the moment – like music, literature, and art.
I have been interested in fashion since I was a kid. Then I lived in London, where it was more about costume and a personal statement of who you are than about fashion.
Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society.
I've always thought that design can have equal importance to the idea of internal architecture. Professionally, things can be very dogmatic – you do the architecture, someone else does the interiors, someone else does the furniture, the fabric, etc. But I think design is all-encompassing.
I don't particularly like showing furniture on pedestals, but for whatever reasons you always have to in museums.
The spirit of adventure to embrace the new and the incredible belief in the power of invention attracted me to the Russian avant-garde.
I made a decision when I was in school that I'd have a lot of male friends.
If I wanted to do clothes or if I wanted to make a building or design a choreography, you are able to do that – they are all under a similar kind of design umbrella.
People say I design architectural icons. If I design a building and it becomes an icon, that's ok.
Half of architecture students are women, and you see respected, established female architects all the time.
It's very important for cities all around the world to reinvent themselves, and Glasgow is a good example of that. The Scots are very nice. I don't think they are burdened by their history.
Architecture is how the person places herself in the space. Fashion is about how you place the object on the person.
My father was a socialist, so he would have thought that I shouldn't be a dame.
As a woman, I'm expected to want everything to be nice and to be nice myself. A very English thing. I don't design nice buildings – I don't like them. I like architecture to have some raw, vital, earthy quality.
There are so many great galleries and museums in London, but they can be very crowded during the day.
The funkiest housing in Holland is for low-income, and I think that's very nice.
You don't always have to show art in what's called a white box; you can have a kind of complexity within an exhibit which actually respects the art as well.
Women are always told, 'You're not going to make it, its too difficult, you can't do that, don't enter this competition, you'll never win it,' – they need confidence in themselves and people around them to help them to get on.
I don't think people should do things because you know, 'I am turning this age, I must go have a husband.' If you find somebody and it works out then have kids, it's very nice. But if you don't, you don't.
Good education is so important. We do need to look at the way people are taught. It not just about qualifications to get a job. It's about being educated.
For many years, I hated nature. As a student, I refused to put a plant anywhere – a living plant, that is. Dead plants were OK.
My buildings are not particularly expensive. It is not a tin shed. If you want a tinny car, you pay for that.
If you think about making a city that is much more porous, many accessible spaces, that is a political position, because you don't fortify, you open it up so that many people can use it.
Education, housing and hospitals are the most important things for society.
I think that the training of architects allows you to see what will happen ten years ahead of time, or twenty. It's not guessing, it's not intuitive, it's based on research – and we may be wrong.
I am quite sensitive to politics, because you know, as an Arab, an Iraqi, all your life, you are very conscious of it.
I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think.
I used to not like being called a 'woman architect': I'm an architect, not just a woman architect. Guys used to tap me on the head and say, 'You are okay for a girl.' But I see the incredible amount of need from other women for reassurance that it could be done, so I don't mind that at all.
I don't think I am that tough, actually. Well, tough in the sense that I don't take any rubbish, and that doesn't make me very popular, frankly. I mean, because some people say something to me, and I just tell them off. I mean, why should I put up with it?
I miss aspects of being in the Arab world – the language – and there is a tranquility in these cities with great rivers. Whether it's Cairo or Baghdad, you sit there and you think, 'This river has flown here for thousands of years.' There are magical moments in these places.
I will never give myself the luxury of thinking, 'I've made it.'
I think about architecture all the time. That's the problem. But I've always been like that. I dream it sometimes.
I have always appreciated those who dare to experiment with materials and proportions.
In Iraq, many of my female friends were architects and professionals with a lot of power during the 1980s while all the men were at war in Iran.
Architecture is particularly difficult for women; there's no reason for it to be. I don't want to blame men or society, but I think it was for a long time, the clients were men, the building industry is all male.
I can't focus when there's too many things around. Whenever I used to go to the office, I used to always say, 'Tidy up.'
When you are overworked and exhausted, there is a sense of kind of delirium and that's why I think architects do all-nighters and they kind of do those deadlines. For four days I remember doing four nights in one row with no sleep. I mean nobody, unless you are crazy, would do that, but you are totally focused on the project.
It's very important that historic cities are allowed to reinvent their future.
All the privileged can travel, see different worlds; not everyone can. I think it is important for people to have an interesting locale nearby.
My father was a politician, and a very important politician, and one of the leaders of the Iraqi Democratic Party, who believed in progress.
The commission process in America and England is different. In America, they do it through an interview process, and it's really based on whether they like you or not. I mean, it's nothing to do with whether you do the best scheme or the worst scheme.
Wherever I am in the world, my perfect day begins with waking up and heading to the beach or the pool or somewhere I can be semi-comatose. I just wake up and go to the sun.
I don't think that everybody in the planet should have a child. I've never had the desire I should have a kid.
When I was growing up in Iraq, there was an unbroken belief in progress and a great sense of optimism. It was a moment of nation building.
I am equally proud of all of my architectural projects. It's always rewarding to see an ambitious design become reality.
Contrary to popular view, I've never been patronized in the Middle East. Men maybe treat women differently, but they do not treat them with disrespect. They don't hate women. It's a very different kind of mentality.
I love driving around east London – it's always full of surprises. Actually, I don't drive myself – I like to be driven.
What's similar between Britain and America is the lack of good-quality civic buildings.
Of course, my family helped me, my brothers helped me, but after I set up my own office I had to really help myself. Some people seem to think I had an oil well in my garden! It's a nice idea but not true.
I really love Miami, but I don't think the architecture matches the city. It's a bit too commercial.
Society has not been set up in a way that allows women to go back to work after taking time off. Many women now have to work as well as do everything at home and no one can do everything. Society needs to find a way of relieving women.
I have always appreciated designers who dare to reinterpret fabrics and proportions, so I follow the Japanese and Belgian designers. The pieces are so animated. When they lie still, they are one thing, but once you stand them up or wear them, they become something else.
I will always have two regrets. I don't have a presence in London, and I would have liked to have done more work in the Middle East.
I think it's good if areas get upgraded and gentrified, as long as the people who always lived there can stay. But they get pushed out to some place.
When I first came to Guangzhou in 1981, it seemed such a hard and dour place with everyone in Chairman Mao uniforms.