Dubai’s Omniyat establishes scholarship in memory of Zaha Hadid at Harvard
Dubai-based property developer Omniyat is encouraging aspiring designers and architects from the Emirates to pursue their studies through the establishment of a new scholarship at one of the world’s most celebrated centres of education.
The fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), is part of a wider drive by Omniyat to nurture the talent of tomorrow in the UAE and the Arab World, an initiative that is in line with how HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, is urging business to make youth development a top priority.
A tribute to the late Dame Zaha Hadid’s work, life, and legacy, the Zaha Hadid / Omniyat Fellowship Fund at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) will provide financial aid to qualifying students from the UAE and the Arab World, and enrolled in the Master in Architecture program at the GSD.
Established by Mahdi Amjad, Executive Chairman and Founder of Omniyat, The Zaha Hadid / Omniyat Fellowship Fund is designed to encourage and nurture the next generation of talent to continue the path that Dame Zaha Hadid did so well to create and will be a lasting tribute to the extraordinary artist.
“When I established Omniyat in 2005 I was motivated by my desire to develop uncompromising creative signature buildings”, said Mr Amjad. “I was fortunate enough to have worked for over ten years with my dear friend and design mentor Dame Zaha Hadid on the creation of our flagship Opus Building in the heart of Dubai.
It is through the Zaha Hadid/Omniyat fellowship that I hope other great creative minds can develop to design and build the next generation of inspirational buildings that provide unique experiences.”
Dame Zaha Hadid was a design innovator whose pioneering work—including the Aquatic Center for the London Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, Michigan, and the Guangzhou Opera House in China—defies convention. She taught at the GSD in 1986 as a Design Critic in Architecture and then again in 1994 as Kenzō Tange Visiting Professor of Architecture. Hadid last spoke at the School, in 2013, when she shared projects from her 400-person London-based office, reminisced about her time teaching at the GSD.
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard, has known Hadid since the two were classmates at the Architectural Association in London. “Zaha Hadid will be remembered for her creativity, her persistence, and her loyalty as a friend,” Mostafavi said following her untimely passing in March. “She worked against the odds, promoting innovative ideas that were, at times, hard for people to embrace. But she persevered and in the end was extraordinarily successful in producing a body of work—buildings of amazing quality—that will be not only a testament to her legacy as an architect but also a significant contribution to architecture.”
Patrik Schumacher, long-time partner at Zaha Hadid Architects who joined Zaha Hadid in 1988 when he was still a student said: “For me Zaha Hadid totally transformed the meaning of architectural design: she turned design into an adventure of discovery with previously unimaginable degrees of freedom. Yet, there is nothing arbitrary within her work. It was always principled and pursued to perfection. Her legacy will live on in us as well as in so many of her inspired followers.”