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Women’s Achievements in Art: Zaha Hadid

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Women artists have been involved in the development of art, but they have been underrepresented and discriminated against throughout history. Many works created by women artists have not been adequately introduced to the public, and women were forced to work in minor art forms such as miniatures, portraits, still lifes, and flower painting. Women in art have faced the difficulties of gender bias in the art world, including challenges in training, travelling and exchanging their work. It took a long time for women artists to be recognised by the public. However, despite these harsh environments, there have been some significant achievements made by women artists. One woman achieved the goal of getting her name on the list of the world's most recognised architects: Zaha Hadid.


Zaha Hadid is well known for her bold and innovative architecture. She disagreed with the status of women artists. To get recognition in the architect field, Hadid began her studies at the American University in Beirut and received a bachelor's degree in mathematics. By 1972, she had moved to London to study at the Architectural Association, the centre of progressive architectural movements during the 1970s. There she met Elia Zenghelis and Rem Koolhaas. They were her collaborators as a partner at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. Aft Hadid established her London-based architecture firm, Zaha Hadid Architects.


Hadid solidified her reputation as a successful architect in the 2000s when she began designing for the new Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati. This museum was the first building in the USA to be designed by a woman. At last, society approved her boldly imaginative designs. She won her Royal Institute of British Architects prize for the best building designed by a British architect. She was the first woman to earn that prestigious prize, assessed on many different categories of design, architecture, graphics, and transportation. Hadid's other notable works include the London Aquatics Centre built for the 2012 Olympics, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan State University, and the Jockey Club Innovation Tower for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She designed buildings and designed interior spaces such as restaurants, stage sets, furniture, footwear, bags, and jewellery, notably for the B.zero 1 jewellery collection of Bulgari, inspired by the design of the colosseum. Hadid also taught architecture at many places, including the Architectural Association, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and Yale University. She now had become a worldly renowned architect and mentor.


Hadid's accomplishments remarkably stood out because she was the only woman while men dominated the architecture industry. In an interview published in Icon magazine, she said, "I never use the issue about being a woman architect ... but if it helps younger people to know they can break through the glass ceiling, I don't mind that." However, she admitted that she never really felt a part of the male-dominant architecture establishment. She once said, "As a woman in architecture, you're always an outsider. It's okay; I like being on edge." The solitude she felt while carrying the burden of being the first successful woman architect made her accomplishments indeed more noteworthy.

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