Architect Zaha Hadid has been making the rounds in New York City this past week. Shortly after winning the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, she put in an appearance to celebrate the sales launch of 520 West 28th Street, a curvy condo building she designed along New York City's High Line. Then, on Saturday, she joined writer John Seabrook for a New Yorker Festival Q&A on her life and work. Curbed attended the event, which had the feel of a magazine profile composed live, covering everything from Zaha's childhood in Baghdad up to the recent controversy over her design for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. Here, our favorite Zaha Hadid facts gleaned from the conversation.
· Taylor Swift is wearing Zaha Hadid-designed shoes in the "Bad Blood" video. "That's almost as big a deal" as the Royal Gold Medal," Seabrook said.
"Yeah, almost," Hadid replied.
· And speaking of shoes: Hadid couldn't get a pair of the shoes she designed with Pharrell Williams for Adidas because the collaboration sold out.
· Hadid designed her own bedroom as a child, and it gave her an early start on her design career: "Everyone liked my bedroom, so the carpenter made it for everybody. It was a mass-produced bedroom."
· Her work on cultural projects has helped to make her famous, but Hadid's attention is shifting more to commercial and residential projects these days.
· What she would most like to see in architecture is "a completely new city" or neighborhood, structured around new ideas about urbanism.
· Before recent events in Tokyo—where her design for an Olympic stadium was abruptly and confusingly canceled—the biggest controversy the architect was involved in had to do with her design for the Cardiff Opera House. The situation in Tokyo is even worse than in Cardiff, she said, because other architects haven't stood behind her this time. What happened in Japan remains "a mystery to us," Hadid said.
· She doesn't live in a home of her own design, and she's fine with that. "I think you can do that when you're very young," she said, "and you don't mind waking up every day and seeing your mistakes."
· With Royal Gold Medal, is Zaha Hadid Today's Winningest Architect? [Curbed]
· Zaha Hadid coverage [Curbed]