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Why Being Fearless Matters So Much: A Conversation With Zaha Hadid (Forbes.com)

Originally posted 1.26.2012 at www.Forbes.com

‘The only thing I could have done to make them accept me was to water everything down — and I wasn’t prepared to do that.’

Zaha Hadid by Steve Double.When architect Zaha Hadid walks into the Philadelphia Museum of Art, conversation stops. Dressed all in black,she strides purposefully across the vast exhibition hall, her presence nearly dwarfing even the mural-sized Marc Chagall stretching from floor to ceiling behind her.

Hadid’s larger-than-life persona is a frequent topic of conversation in the architecture world, and in concert with the gravity-defying, curvilinear buildings she creates, has earned her a reputation as the diva of architecture. It’s a term applied by admirers and critics alike, to which she responds bluntly “You wouldn’t call me a diva if I were a guy.”