Queen of the Curve: A film about Zaha Hadid premieres during the Virtual Design Festival

The award-winning British-Iraqi architect is the subject of a new short film

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe
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A short film about British-Iraqi architect Dame Zaha Hadid has been shown for the first time as part of the Virtual Design Festival, the world's first online design festival, which is running until Tuesday, June 30.

Architecture critic and designer Laura Mark and filmmaker Jim Stephenson have launched Zaha Hadid: Words by Eva Jiricna, using footage that was originally shot as part of a documentary the duo made for Architects' Journal in 2017, marking the one-year anniversary of Hadid's death.

A partial view of One Thousand Museum building in Miami on February 19, 2020.  In the heart of Miami, among the towering skyscrapers that rise above the Bay of Biscayne, the eye-catching new luxury condo building by late star architect Zaha Hadid dominates the skyline.
The unique curved "exoskeleton" design of the One Thousand Museum building has created buzz. The futuristic building is the only residential space in downtown Miami with a helipad.
The building is also a way to honor the legacy of the Iraqi-British architect, who died in Miami in 2016 at age 65, when the 62-story One Thousand Museum tower was built up to about the eighth floor.
"We felt a big obligation to make sure we got this particular project right because Miami was her second home," said Chris Lepine, who took over as director of the $300 million project after her death.
 / AFP / Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Leila MACOR on "Zaha Hadid's 'exoskeleton' tower an instant Miami landmark"
A partial view of One Thousand Museum building in Miami by star architect Zaha Hadid. AFP

This new film shows snippets of the architect's work and features the words of her friend, Jiricna. The pair had known each other since Hadid was a student at the Architectural Association.

"I do remember vividly how I met Zaha for the first time," Jiricna says as an opening line to the film, which runs for just over nine minutes.

Watch the film here:

"She never lost her confidence, she always knew that her work was really outstanding," she adds. "It had movement, it had the forms which nobody had ever seen before. It was fluent, it was communicative, it was beautiful ... When you look round there is absolutely no way not to see her touch all over the world."

Hearing Eva speak about Zaha is always very touching and there is a warmth in her words

Stephenson returned to the original documentary, which featured people Hadid knew well, during the UK's lockdown period. The pair decided to make a short film focusing on Jiricna alone.

"Hearing Eva speak about Zaha is always very touching and there is a warmth in her words," Mark said, according to design website Dezeen.

"I think sometimes with stars we forget about the person behind the work or the image of them, and Eva's words really help us to remember this," she added.

"What we hear is really raw."

Hadid, who was born in Baghdad in 1950, had many accolades under her belt and has been described as “the queen of the curve”. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She was the recipient of the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame for her services to architecture. And, in 2016, the month before she died, she became the first woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Hadid’s company designed some of the most recognisable buildings of our modern skylines. This includes the award-winning London Aquatics Centre in London, England; the Guangzhou Opera House; Florida’s One Thousand Museum; and even Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge, among many, many more.

ME Dubai by Melia. It was the first and last property designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Courtesy ME Dubai
ME Dubai by Melia. It was the first and last property designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Courtesy ME Dubai

She died on March 31, 2016 of a heart attack in Miami, Florida.