Sad Zaha: I met a Woman, not an Arquitect (English Version)

Zaha Hadid por Brigitte Lacombe


I met her one night in Miami through one of the friends-regalo that I kept from New York, interior designer and a great collector of photography Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque. Juan Carlos had invited me to spend a few days in his apartment in Miami, and suddenly took me to pick her up to go to dinner, just as he does things, naughty and generous: I was impressed by her huge, dark eyes which closer to my culture than to the Anglo-Saxon eye. They were a pure human cliff, a tunnel aimed more at her emotionality that at her amazing brain: they where arrogant so as to hide a terrible vulnerability. The first time I found myself face to face with Zaha Hadid I knew that she was not happy to meet me – I’ve only felt the same feeling with the Duchess of Alba, but in the case of Zaha had the sensation she disliked to meet people just out of a pure thirst for contact. But she let herself just be carried away by the night, impertinent and grumpy, you could tell that she was confident of her host and when we arrived at a Cuban restaurant somewhere in some area of South Beach where no one would expect to find a non-Spanish speaking person, the woman literally flopped on her plate with the passion of someone who suddenly finds its place and–literally–put hands digging in the seafood, having fun and letting her eyes be as they were able to fall in love with anyone who would know to look at them. Something that would have never allowed have been the case. Her emotional complexity seemed infinite.


The second time I saw her – again with Juan Carlos – was at a party where she never confirmed her coming I think because she only accepted to surrender to what she thought would be inevitable. She didn´t look comfortable, not for a fraction of a single second. The first night I remember her wearing a discreet black Miyake, this second one, I’m guessing Blanik’s or whatever they were: something exquisite at exquisite feet. Her feet were being watched by the whole party, her eyes shielded by always looking sideways, as if she were to find someone who recognized her. I don’t mean the architect Zaha Hadid, but the women Zaha Hadid. She was truly friendly, but her eyes were not. They looking at everything so not be seen.

The third and last time I saw her, it was already on her own turf; her hotel in Soho, a place under her absolute control. I had thrown out there with little hope, the message of a possible interview, and Juan Carlos tried to arrange it – easy to say-, he was with her and she with him and me, avoiding the subject. At any given time, suddenly she said out of the blue «ok, I’ll do it. Call to the Office». She said it for real, just out of  generosity, she did believe that she would give me the interview. I knew that It would not happen, and it was totally ok to me. I din´t want to add any more anguish to the permanent fight with her emotions.


And this is The End. And now about the architect I never met.

Everyone knew for a long time that her brightness and viable ideas on paper, and knew that they were considered by “the” customers and the establishment, undoable. She never hesitated. Her head had the kind of certainty and a way of creating non-existent roads before installing them in the Space-Time of the rest of us. She never forgave. She said it was because she was woman. She said it was because She was Muslim. I knew it was because what she was proposing was new. Space-Time is not so easy to be changed and the proof of the Gravitational Waves had not yet being obtained and her proposition of curves and waves of strata, did not fit into any mortal’s brain either. Even today. I am impressed with the beauty when she sculpts the Space itself… in a new way. However, even today, my brain can appreciate the beauty, but may be able to absorb its familiarity. It just can’t, it’s too early. Her buildings photographe impressively well. Mainly the exterior. The interiors are exhausting for a «normal» mind. Hence their furniture, their jewelry. For mortals. Except, in rare cases, such as in the of the Concert Hall of the Museum of art in Manchester, her interiors are to me “mental spaces”. Able to be visited… hardly habitable. And here the circle closes. Is a building a mental space? Without doubt yes, fir her. Her mental space turned into donations for mankind: the prices were mostly revenge.

Today, according to the newspapers, her heart has stopped beating. And her brain, the machine creating the mental spaces of Zaha Hadid, already inhabits another Space-Time of ours. She left an imprint that has changed us all. I feel sad for the Zaha Hadid, women, I almost feel relief for the architect Zaha Hadid.


Time will give the size – I think that has not done so yet of his work. For the time being, it seems unreal that it is no longer.