In October, the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) hosted “Zaha Hadid: A Celebration,” an evening of presentations and discussion around the extraordinary work and life of the late Zaha Hadid. Six months on from Hadid’s sudden passing in March, the Dean of Harvard GSD, Mohsen Mostafavi, introduced the event as the appropriate time to focus on creative recognition and “an evening of incredible celebration and enjoyment.”
Following Mostafavi’s introduction, there were three presentations from speakers who all had a different relationship to Hadid. First up was Elia Zenghelis, speaking from his experience as an early teacher of Hadid. Patrik Schumacher followed, speaking as professional partner and collaborator, and finally Zhang Xin, co-founder and CEO of SOHO China, as Hadid’s client and friend. All three speakers had much to say on both the work and life of Hadid, with personal stories woven into more architectural discussion. The event ended with a panel discussion, with all three presenters led by Mostafavi and questions from the audience.
You can watch the full 2-hour event above, or check out our summary of the highlights below to jump to the section that interests you most:
- 0:00-10:12: Introduction by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Harvard GSD and also a friend of Hadid, in which he discusses meeting her on the first day of architecture school.
- 10:12-23:24: Elia Zenghelis, Hadid’s teacher at the AA, likened her loss to “losing a daughter,” even though she treated him “like a toddler.” He discusses her work as a student including her Malevich-influenced museum for the 19th Century and competition entry for the Prime Minister’s House in Ireland.
- 23:30-39:14: Patrik Schumacher prefaces his presentation by explaining how as a student, “Zaha transformed the whole discipline for me.” He discusses her “best moves” as an architect and problem solver, subtitling them under explosion, calligraphy, distortion and landscape analogy.
- 39:30-57:57: Zhang Xin gives her story as a client and friend of Zaha. She begins with her first time meeting Hadid, after she won one of Zhang’s competitions, and ends with an uncanny anecdote from her attendance at Hadid’s funeral.
- 58:28-1:41:22: Panel discussion and questions from the audience led by Mostafavi.