After a startling and meteoric rise to fame, Arab Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid is one of the most sought after and in-demand architects of the twenty-first century. Hadid's work, which often defies description, draws on a diverse palette of influences including Soviet Constructivism, Suprematism, and what her colleague Patrick Shumacher has termed ‘Parametricism’. At the same time, Hadid's work – she studied under Rem Koolhaas – is infused on multiple levels with her Arab culture and identity. Originally more famous for her designs and un-built works, those which have been constructed or are on the verge of completion span the globe from China to Azerbaijan to Europe, the US and – more recently – the Arab world. She is the recipient of some of architecture's most prestigious awards including the Pritzker Prize. Simultaneously, Hadid has met with controversy and obstacles to her single-minded approach to design and utilization of space in both Europe and the Arab world. This article contains previously unpublished interviews – which examine her approach to form and space, her relation to computer-assisted design, as well as her Iraqi identity – undertaken with Zaha Hadid by the author over a decade, as well as photographs and illustrations of her paradigmatic work that pose serious challenges and hurdles for structural engineers and builders, while engaging all those who view or encounter them to assess their own relation to space and concepts of it.

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