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Google celebrates Zaha Hadid

Today’s Google Doodle honors 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 in her own right 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. 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 the geometries of 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 Google 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.

Built on the site of a former munitions factory, the center’s design aspires to express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and an optimism for the future. Its fluid, open forms engage with local cultures and traditions by an act of attraction rather than imposition. Since opening, the center has hosted the widest variety of international exhibitions by artists such as Andy Warhol, Tony Cragg, and Bernard Buffet, as well as performances of Opera by Alessandro Safina, Jazz by Deedee Bridgewater, experimental music by Kiatro from Japan and violin performances by Itzhak Perlman. In October 2016, Pope Francis addressed multi-faith religious leaders in the center.

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 Google celebrates Dame Zaha Hadid’s contributions over her lifetime to the world of architecture. Thank you, Zaha, for all you’ve done to bring people together in the service of art and culture!

(Above image ©Google)

Google celebrates Zaha Hadid with Google Doodle