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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.