May 31, 2017
Celebrating Zaha Hadid
Today’s Doodle honors architect Zaha Hadid, who captured the world's attention and shattered glass ceilings (in addition to designing some) by becoming the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize on this day in 2004. She was also the first woman awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Born in Iraq in 1950, Hadid learned about abstract art and architecture at the Architectural Association in London. There, she found inspiration in unconventional forms. Before computers made her designs easier to put on paper, Hadid's studio was known to use the photocopier in creative ways to bend lines and create new shapes. The type in today's Doodle finds inspiration in Hadid's energetic sketches, which explored both form and function.
Hadid broke new ground on modern architecture using the surrounding landscape for building inspiration. The straight lines and sharp angles of the Vitra Fire Station in Germany were inspired by nearby vineyards and farmland, while the roof of the London Aquatic Centre forms the shape of a wave. You can see the London Aquatic Centre and some of Hadid's other impressive work in Google Earth's interactive exhibit.
The Heydar Aliyev Center, pictured in today's doodle, sets itself in contrast to the block-like structures that surround it in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the same time, this cultural center takes inspiration from historic Islamic designs found in calligraphy and geometric patterns to create something entirely new. The building takes an open form to invite the public into its space. The center has played host to modern art by Andy Warhol and Tony Cragg, and world-class performances from Kitaro and Alessandro Safina.
In her early work, Hadid visualized her projects through paintings that resembled abstract modernist art. She famously said, "There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?" You can explore some of these early concepts - including via virtual reality - on the Google Cultural Institute.
Today we celebrate Dame Zaha Hadid's contributions over her lifetime to the world of architecture. Thank you, Dame Zaha Hadid, for all you've done to bring people together in the service of art and culture!
Early concepts of the Doodle