Apsara Designs



If her brothers had their way, Zaha Hadid would have been Iraq’s first female astronaut.  Instead, she chose one of the toughest, male-dominated industries around and blazed a trail in it, becoming not just Iraq’s most famous woman architect but also the world’s.  Even to this date, the Pritzker prize-winner [architecture’s Nobel equivalent] still has a struggle on her hands when it comes to some projects.  "In the last 15 years, there’s been tremendous change and now it is seen as normal to have women in this profession," she says.  "But it is still very difficult for women to operate as professionals because there are some worlds you have no access to.  I still experience resistance but I think that keeps me focused."

Hadid is known for daringly curvaceous, highly futuristic designs, some of them so complex in conception that they are impossible to build. Many of her schemes remain on the drawing board for years, until the building professions can catch up with her prodigious imagination. Hadid’s renderings verge on the abstract, evoking otherworldly, alien forms. Picture space stations and flying saucers as if they had been engineered and built by Ferrari.

Below: A large-scale painting for British Vogue – proposing a radical ‘shake-up’ of the metropolis in both diagrammatic and pictorial terms – a reinvention of open spaces, rail, road and water networks, air routes and borough configuration – vivid brushstrokes ‘animating’ new proposals, now possibilities, new experiments in urbanism.