When a building designed by Zaha Hadid takes shape in your city, you might think for a second you’ve time-traveled 100 years into the future. But don’t worry. Marty McFly and his DeLorean won’t be waiting outside your front door. Four years after her death from a heart attack at 65, the innovative Iraqi British architect continues to transform cities around the world through structures that most of her contemporaries could never have dared to imagine. Known in the architectural world as the “Queen of Curve,” Hadid loved to eschew linear lines in favor of curvy, futuristic shapes.
Like many trailblazers, Hadid’s flame burned brightly from an early age. “Even as a student, Zaha had a kind of mythological aura around her,” her former painting workshop professor at London’s Architectural Association, Madelon Vriesendorp told The Guardian. “She was an incredible creature, always dressed in spectacular layers of scarves and feathers and Perspex heels. And she had this strange habit of burning the edges of her drawings. They looked like futuristic treasures dug up from the ground, with all these crazy forms bending, twisting and warping. I loved her images, but I didn’t even try to understand what they meant.”
Born in Baghdad to a wealthy left-leaning family, Hadid became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, and was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for architectural achievements. Like Apple post-Steve Jobs, Hadid’s name has become a global brand and her work is being continued by her design studios that are dedicated to furthering her legacy. According to the South China Morning Post, the innovative architect had 36 projects in 21 countries under construction at the time of her passing.
Click through the gallery to check out Hadid’s work.