Zaha Hadid was just 65 when she died of a heart attack in 2016, at what was arguably the height of her career. She left behind many unfinished projects—including several in the Middle East that are now nearing completion.
The King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Bee’ah Headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, and the Central Bank of Iraq are all now officially to open in 2022, according to a new profile published by Vanity Fair. Meanwhile, her Grand Théatre de Rabat in Morocco has just been completed.
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Each project contains the grace and dignity that has become associated with Hadid, with an emphasis on curving forms that appear organic and modern. Her futuristic-looking visions were highly appealing to Arab officials and royalty, who hoped to associate their budding cities not as ancient hubs or new upstarts but as metropolises that seem transported from a time still to come.
Interest in Hadid among Arab clients spiked in the final years of her career. For Hadid, who was born in Baghdad, her Arab projects may have offered an opportunity to reconnect with the region she had left behind when she departed for the U.K. to study architecture during the ’70s.
While the Grand Théatre de Rabat represents a more classic endeavor to invest deeply in a cultural space, projects like the Bee’ah Headquarters evince a more unusual mission: waste management. The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center is likewise the kind of project one might not expect to be given Hadid’s signature elegance.