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Glass Ceiling-Shattering Architect Dame Zaha Hadid Has Died of a Heart Attack

Zaha HadidZaha Hadid
Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid in her London office, UK, circa 1985. Photograph by Christopher Pillitz—Getty Images

Dame Zaha Hadid passed away on Thursday at age 65. She died following a heart attack in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis, according to the BBC.

Hadid was arguably the best-known female architect in the world, with her signature curved designs visible around the globe. She was the vision behind the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the London Aquatics Center, the Maxxi art museum in Rome, and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, just to name a few of her most high-profile projects.

The Iraqi-British architect was one of very few women at the top of her field, and the first one win the Pritzker Prize, her profession’s highest honor.

“Clients, journalists, fellow professionals are mesmerized by her dynamic forms and strategies for achieving a truly distinctive approach to architecture and its settings,” was how the Pritzker jury described Hadid’s work in 2004, when she was awarded the prize. “Each new project is more audacious than the last and the sources of her originality seem endless.”

Hadid’s success came at a time when there were very few women in architecture, as continues to be the case today. In the U.S., men and women graduate from architecture school in roughly equal numbers, but only about 18% of licensed practitioners are women, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Even more disturbing: A recent Architect’s Journal survey found that more than 70% of female architects face sexual discrimination, harassment or bullying at work.

One way to commemorate the “queen of the curve” would be to give other women the opportunities to rise as far as she did.