Dame Zaha Hadid was a pioneering architect who rethought the way buildings are shaped. From an arts centre with no straight lines to a museum atop five stilts, she toyed with traditional forms in her postmodern designs.

Hadid died unexpectedly of a heart attack last year with many projects left unfinished. Just over a year after her death, Hadid's life and work is being remembered with a Google Doodle.

Architect Zaha Hadid was born in Iraq in 1950 and lived abroad for much of her childhood. She went to boarding schools in England and Switzerland as a child before studying maths at the American University of Beirut. In 1972 she moved to London to study architecture where she wowed professors as a "planet in her own orbit".

Despite early signs of an inventive style, Hadid didn't complete her first architectural project until she was 44 years old. Many thought her unique style was unworkable until Vitra, a furniture manufacturer, commissioned her first building in the 90s.

Advertisement

In the 20 years that she worked as an architect, Hadid designed scores of buildings across the world, including the London 2012 Olympic Aquatics Centre and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

She received a host of accolades for her work. She became the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize back in 2004. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame for her services to the profession.

Hadid did of a heart attack in March 2016. By the time she passed away she had accrued a fortune worth more than £70 million.

Best-known buildings

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan was completed in 2013
The Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan was completed in 2013

1. Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan

A cultural and conference centre in Baku, the Heydar Aliyev Centre contrasts with the Soviet-era blocks that surrounded it. It spans 10,081 square metres and doesn't contain a single straight line.

Describing the building's design, Hadid said: "Its fluid form emerges from the folds of the natural topography of the landscape and envelops the different functions of the centre."

Inside the London 2012 Aquatics Centre
Inside the London 2012 Aquatics Centre

2. London 2012 Aquatics Centre in Stratford, UK

This £269 million building housed the three swimming pools there were used during the London 2012 Olympics. It was "inspired by the fluid geometry of water in movement", Hadid said, and sits on the Olympic Park in Stratford, London.

Advertisement
The Maxxi gallery is home to the National Museum of Arts of the 21st Century
The Maxxi gallery is home to the National Museum of Arts of the 21st Century

3. Maxxi Museum in Rome, Italy

Completed in 2010, the Maxxi gallery is built on top of five extremely thin pylons. Its design draws on Hadid's earlier period, with contrasts between white and black.

The Guangzhou Opera House in China was also finished in 2010
The Guangzhou Opera House in China was also finished in 2010

4. Guangzhou Opera House in Guangdong, China

Hadid's first project in China, the Guangzhou Opera House covers 70,000 square metres and cost $300 million. It contrasts with the sky scrapers that surround it and was inspired by natural earth forms. Hadid described it as the "two pebbles".

The Dongadaemun Design Plaza in South Korea was completed in 2013
The Dongadaemun Design Plaza in South Korea was completed in 2013

5. Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea

One of the largest buildings in the South Korean capital, the Dongadaemun Design Plaza is an 86,600 square metre centre that is open 24 hours a day. Its name means "Great Gate of the East". The design contains ecological features such as solar panels, a water recycling system and a double skin.

Unfinished work

When Hadid died in 2016 she left a host of unfinished buildings including designs and projects under construction. They include the 2022 FIFA World Cup Al Wakrah Stadium in Doha and the Salerno Maritime Terminal in Salerno, Italy.

Shortly before her death she also finished the designs for a 1,400 foot skyscraper that could replace the 666 Fifth Avenue building owned by Kushner Companies. In March the company said it plans to construct the $12 billion building, which could be complete by 2025.