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Zaha Hadid Collages

This week we have been exploring the work of Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi architect, also known as “the Queen of the Curve.”

She is one of the most well-known architects in the world and the first woman architect whose name is known amongst some of the other greats. Her ideas and designs changed the way people thought of buildings, she treated her creations more like sculptures instead of just a block of space.

Fortunately, Zaha came from a wealthy family who supported her dreams of becoming an architect, which she decided at age 11. She was able to travel a lot in her youth and her father would make sure she visited all the important buildings and museums wherever they went.

During her studies Zaha became very inspired by abstract paintings and would paint and draw a lot of abstract work herself that informed her architectural designs. She felt that traditional architectural drawings were too structured and limiting. Through painting she expanded her ideas, helping her to create some of the most groundbreaking architectural designs of today.

To get inspired to create we first looked at a few of her designs and talked about what shapes we noticed.

I wanted us to focus on placing shapes and colors together so we chose to work in paper for this project and create abstract collages that could inspire a building design. We discussed how this is similar to the process Zaha would have gone through when designing her own buildings - ideas would start with abstract drawings and paintings and then move into a more concrete plan.


large piece of paper (we used grid paper)

any scrap paper you have



First I gathered a bunch of our scrap paper (this is also a great opportunity to use some of those colorful abstract artworks your kids have made that might be laying around). Since my kids are younger, I got us started by cutting up a bunch of different shapes, both organic and geometric, though they still wanted a chance to try out the scissors as well.

Then I set out some glue sticks, and a large piece of grid paper (though plain works just as well too). Finally, they were free to experiment and create. This project is very open ended, we just turned on some music and enjoyed the process. BONUS - its mostly mess free!

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