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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector: Zaha Hadid

April 5th, 2010
02:52 PM ET

Known for her deconstructive architectural style, Zaha Hadid is the woman behind some of the world's most interesting and unusual buildings.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/05/zaha.blog.jpg
caption="What do you want to ask Zaha Hadid."]

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, Hadid first studied mathematics, but her love of design and creativity quickly lead her to London.

Hadid studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and that was where she met many of today's leading figures in experimental design, including Bernard Tschumi.

Some of Hadid's most notable buildings include the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the BMW Central Building in Germany and the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria.

In 2008, Forbes Magazine ranked Hadid as the 69th most powerful woman in the world.

Here's your chance to ask Zaha Hadid a question.

Do you want to know what her architectural inspirations are? Maybe you want to know what her favorite building in the world is? Are there any architects that she admires?

Please leave your comments below and remember to tell us where you're writing from.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Zaha Hadid (Arabic: زها حديد‎) and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Zaha Hadid to the following questions:
    – What is your opinion on the current situation in Iraq?
    – What must be done to really connect Iraq with the rest of the world?
    – What are your architectural inspirations?
    – What is your favorite building in the world?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Zaha Hadid’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    April 5, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  2. Gabriela Hernandez

    What´s your first approach for a new project

    April 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  3. Braziel

    What were the best times? The most difficult times?

    April 6, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  4. Ashiru

    Hi, zaha what type of building wants to be your next project in the would today. Ashiru u gabasawa, kano Nigeria.

    April 12, 2010 at 11:12 am | Reply
  5. Gabriela Macías

    According to your phylosophy which is the direction architecture should take (plastics, economy, ecology, etc)?

    April 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  6. Gabriela Macías

    Which architect would you consider to work with in a future project?

    April 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  7. Salina Jones

    Hy Zaha,
    There is one beautiful building coming up at Business Bay, Dubai by name The Opus.
    who is the real designer ? Is it you or Vincent Nowak, (one of your office staff)?

    Salina, Dubai

    April 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  8. Abdulla

    How would you characterize the last decade in terms of architectures ( Its successes, failures, emerging trends,etc..) and where does your architecture fit within that?
    Which of your buildings are you most proud off?
    Where do you see architecture heading in the next two decades?
    And finally, What is your advice to young and emerging architects who want to make a difference in this world?

    Thank you.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  9. Louis

    I have 2 questions;

    What is your opinion on the impact of Computer Aided Design on the aesthetics of modern architecture?
    Do you think that CAD should be seen as a revolution, an evolution, or just a tool? In which way do you believe we will read about it in future history books? Imagine being an architect in the past, without CAD and modern construction techniques. How do you see your architecture, would you be able to follow classical principles, or would you still do your own thing?

    How important is the use of sustainable and cost-effective materials to you? If forced to work with a limited budget or limited resources, like many beginning architects do, in which ways would you enable yourself to put your (or any) distinctive look on the design?

    Architecture Student,

    April 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  10. Keira


    Do you know if there's anything being done (programs, education, etc) to teach workers in developing countries how to build or design better infrastructures, or infranstructures that are up to code?

    The comparison lies within the devastation in Haiti and the limited damage in Chile after their earthquakes...

    Thank you,


    April 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  11. Jinraj Joshipura, San Juan, USA

    Are you by birth Jewish, Christian or Muslim?

    April 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  12. azhar

    I think that Iraq deserve to have some thing from Zaha where she was born, perhaps an institute or a big project

    April 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  13. Obinna okeke, an architect from enugu, nigeria

    Hi zaha,
    is your design philosophy based on form following function or vice verser. Which architectural style influenced your practice as an architect.

    April 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  14. Alan

    Does your design approach make any attempt to positively relate to our collective cultural and historical built history or is it more a reaction to it?

    Los Angeles

    April 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  15. Serene


    Which building materials are you most interested by and why? Which materials do you find to provide the most environmental/sustainable benefit? And, lastly – what are the trends that you see in building design that excite you the most?

    Thank you,

    April 14, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  16. Brit Gill Comacchio


    Thank you for connecting. Someone once asked Madonna which song did she wish she had written. I pose the same to you - which works of architecture in the last 15 years do you wish you had designed?

    Considering not the money or fame associated with the project(s) but from a sheer 'once when I was a student things used to inspire me' perspective.

    As students we trade in a currency of imagined tomorrows, dreams, and as practitioners these kinds of conversations seem to fall away, not entirely beneficially.

    Sleep deprived and under-vacationed student,

    Brit Gill Comacchio

    April 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  17. Alan

    Oh, and one more...
    To what extent do you think ego is the motivator among world renowned architects. That is, is their desire for their designs to simply look different and stand out from the 'background buildings' the overriding concern, even more than creating the best architecture possible that might get less splashy press attention?

    Thanks again,

    April 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  18. ignatius morgen

    Greetings miss hadid.

    firstly and foremost,I enjoy your buildings and the future the predict.
    I am currently an architectural student,with obviously a trillion and one things to ask,but I will only ask two questions, if I may.

    1st. What should the growing African architecture lean towards to ,in terms of defining its own influence in the world?

    2ndly. If you could name 1 building that Zaha Hadid is most fond of as an architect and why.(no Hadid projects please)

    many thanks for the continued inspiration.

    April 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  19. Andrew Wilke

    What course should architecture take in the future to maximize its positive effects on the people of the world?

    April 14, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  20. riaz

    madam hadid,

    you are in early 60's by age. This report is incomplete by information so one is ignorant to quiz competently. but from what is stated which of your structures you beleive will survive a century beyond your work.

    Riaz , dubai

    April 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  21. Ibraem Al-Tamanrassetti

    I know through Centuries best wise people came from World's first metro;Baghdad.Abu-Nawas the first to create a kite was a wise man from there,whom they call Goha in oxford novels,and first battery creator from there,now its ure turn ,Madam Zaha Hadyd u seem real strong like Hadyd,so u can think what I am capable of thinking but not can I do build,cause Im not good in Mathes.
    I ask you if youre capable enough of thinking think of a large skyscrapper standing on a sharp point onto hard platform without shaking,when earthquakes comes,without anythink holding its balance on either side....can you??
    I know Allah will give you better answer into action,Ma' Salam

    April 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  22. Thomas Nguyen


    As a great admirer of your work as and a source of constant inspiration for me I have always wondered where your original idea for the forms you make came from? I would also like to know about how you think architecture will develop over the years to come? As it seems we are already pushing the boundaries between the possible and impossible, are we likely to see experimentation with structures and forms come to a halt? Or are we likely to see the boundaries pushed even further?

    April 14, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  23. Mirza Tursic, Sarajevo, Bosnia&Herzegovina

    My question for Zaha would be:

    Does she thinks that her architecture is timeless?

    Greatings from Sarajevo!

    April 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  24. Alejandro Bocanegra

    Miss Hadid,

    I studied architecture, however I've always worked as a graphic artist and designer. I admire you because in both aspects your work is inspiring.

    My first question has to do with character and personality. How do you think it reflects on your architecture in particular. Your character is strong, how does that energy become architecture? And do you think an artist's work can in turn influence his/her character?

    My second question has to do with inspiration. It very often occurs that an artist's inspiration comes from the most unexpected and unbelievable (for his/her followers) of sources. It is something intimate and personal. It may even come from a different field. What inspires you?

    My third question is...What music do you like to listen to when you are energic and creative?

    Thank you for your time...

    Madrid, Spain

    April 14, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  25. zulfikar aziz

    Salam to you Ms. Zaha,

    Congratulations on your success. Please share with us how does
    your religion influence your overall work as a architect.

    April 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  26. Joseph Williams

    Miss Hadid,

    Greetings from the deserts of Arizona, USA.

    You are truly an inspiration to many women in a male-dominated world. Do you feel that burden (burden not used in a pejorative sense)? If so, how do you envision your influence helping augment the status of promising female architects?

    April 15, 2010 at 2:08 am | Reply
  27. John Dinwiddie

    I just looked at some of your stuff, and doing so briefly carries its own unfairness. In terms of what is really going on in high bucks modern
    architecture, in particular in everything that is large, I see the same general style.

    It is welcome to me, far more so than that of the so called post modern
    era. You, colleagues like Gehry, have returned to an updated romanticism that emphasizes aesthetics and grandeur. And to some
    extent shock. A naked acute angle always delivers in that regard if it
    dominates some building's outline. So too cantilevered extravagances
    that make one wonder just why or how some crazy looking building
    manages to stand up.

    But here we have an old argument, the one that is tethered to Eliel
    Saarinen's famous aphorism, "form follows function." The argument
    comes together in a very difficult question, and that is the one that
    I would like to ask you now. In terms of these hypothetical ingredients, engineering (raw structure), sculpture (ornamental
    structure), what really is the discipline of architecture? At what
    threshold does designing a building transcend shed and barn building? At what point does flourish become excess? How are
    these poles articulated into a single definition of architecture that
    some inspired child might run with in wanting to become an architect?

    April 15, 2010 at 2:37 am | Reply
  28. Paola Dindo

    I'm an admirer of your work.
    I have listen to you at theconference in HKfew years ago, reading your biography , you did spend many years in which your vision was not understood by most of the people.
    The question I like to ask is what make you feel strong and kept your vision intact till your success.
    Thank'you for your beautiful work

    April 15, 2010 at 2:55 am | Reply
  29. Alexandra

    Ms. Hadid,

    I have two questions for you:

    1.What do you know about Latin American architecture? Do you like anything
    in particular?

    2. When you began your practice, how did you get started?

    Thank you.

    Alexandra Sinisterra

    April 15, 2010 at 5:06 am | Reply
  30. Mohammed Ghazi

    Are you planning to design anything or start a new project in Baghdad?

    April 15, 2010 at 5:33 am | Reply
  31. Mohammad Hamza

    Salam to you..
    It is truly wonderful to witness the success of an Iraqi woman amid all the suffering our people have been through.. Which piece of advice can you give to other Iraqis living abroad on how to excel in this world and reclaim some of the lost glory of our beloved country?


    April 15, 2010 at 5:36 am | Reply
  32. Amedu Godwin

    Hello Zaha, i admire ur courage, motivation and passion 4 architecture, quite commendable. In iraq or any part of d world is there a foundation 4 aspiring young ladies who wants 2 be like u or even better? Thank u archi futminna

    April 15, 2010 at 6:15 am | Reply
  33. lia papaiacovou

    Dear Miss Hadid
    Your achievements are a major inspiration. For a 15 year old who is interested in studying architecture, what subjects shall she choose at school or what can she do to be introduced to the world of architecture so that she knows more or less what it entails.
    Thanking you, best regards from Cyprus

    April 15, 2010 at 6:45 am | Reply
  34. Amos Akalia

    1. Must you know how to draw before you study Architecture. 2. What will you do to improve your knowldge of design.

    April 15, 2010 at 7:44 am | Reply
  35. Homa

    Hi, Hadid

    Do you spend some money to build upp your own country? If yes, how?

    April 15, 2010 at 8:59 am | Reply
  36. Murjanatu Gamawa

    My Questions to the undeniably clever woman are:
    – What is your main source of inspiration?
    – How do you conceptualise your designs?
    – How do you see your self helping young femake architects who look up to you as their inspiration achieve their dream?

    April 15, 2010 at 9:16 am | Reply
  37. Alan

    I can see that in the video ZH answered only some of the questions. Does she address the rest elsewhere?

    April 16, 2010 at 8:43 am | Reply

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