Do Not Buy A House From Patel & Rahma! Or Else… (The Zaha Hadid Episode with Nimesh Patel)

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On this episode, we are joined by the surprisingly smart (jk) but unsurprisingly silly stand-up comedian and Indian hillbilly (jk?) comedian Nimesh Patel! And today, I’m going to tell him the story of one of the most legendary people in Architecture: Zaha Hadid – the FIRST! Arab and FIRST! woman to win the famed Pritzker Architecture Prize which is the top award in architecture and you guessed it, the FIRST! Arab and FIRST! woman to design a major art museum in the United States.

Next time on FIRST! – make sure to catch me and Marie Faustin and Daddy as we talk about Wendell Scott: the FIRST! Black NASCAR driver.



Nimesh Patel, Kareem Rahma

Kareem Rahma  00:20

Okay, I got a question for you. I’m going to show you a picture of this person. Do you know who this is?

Nimesh Patel  00:29

She looks like my mom’s hairdresser.

Kareem Rahma  00:31

That’s a very, very nice hairdresser. Is your mom rich?

Nimesh Patel  00:37

No, that’s Indian women just the big hair.

Kareem Rahma  00:40

They’re just lit. Well, this is not your mom’s hairdresser. Okay, this is Zaha Hadid, one of the most famous architects of all time. What’s up, y’all? I’m Kareem Rahma, and welcome to FIRST. A funny show about spectacular people who had a serious impact on society and culture because they were first. We have a very special episode on our hands today. Because not only are we talking about a legendary first, but we’re also talking with one, we are joined by the hilarious stand-up comedian at Nimesh Patel, who also happens to be the first Indian-American writer on Saturday Night Live. Did you know that?

Nimesh Patel  01:29

I knew that? You know, I don’t know if it’s verifiable or not. But please, you know, go ahead and verify that variety of […] or Vanity Fair.

Kareem Rahma  01:37

I saw on Wikipedia.

Nimesh Patel  01:38

So let’s just say it’s true.

Kareem Rahma  01:40

How would you feel if I would have had you in here and then like, today, we’re going to be talking about Nimesh Patel..

Nimesh Patel  01:46

That would have been great. I would happily punctuate all the points in my stomach. Wait, I did what now?

Kareem Rahma  01:52

We gotta do a fact check. He’s actually 5’4. That’s all your Wikipedia says. It says your 5’4. Which is why when you walked in here, I was like, Yo, you’re a lot taller than I thought you were. Are you one of the tallest Indians in America?

Nimesh Patel  02:08

I hope so. No, I’ve definitely seen some giant guys but 6’1 are good days. A good feeling to be.

Kareem Rahma  02:16

Still growing. I’m still growing. I’m a grower not a shower. Alright, enough about me mash. I’m sure you’ll hear from him later. Let’s get to the matter at hand. Today, I’m going to tell Nimesh the story of one of the most legendary people in architecture, Zaha Hadid. In case you aren’t familiar with her, let me give you some context. If Picasso is the most iconic artists of all time, or Mozart is the most iconic musician of all time or pizza is the most iconic food of all time. Then Zaha Hadid is the most iconic architects of all time. She has designed over 1000 buildings and many of them are the most recognizable most famous buildings in the world including the London Aquatic Center located in..

Nimesh Patel  03:04


Kareem Rahma  03:06

My guy is smarter than you look bro. Including the Guangzhou Opera House in China. 520 West 28th Street in New York City, the maxi National Museum of 21st century art in Rome, among many, many more. What’s even more remarkable is that she really only produced this work during a span of about 23 years from 1993 until her untimely death in 2016.

Nimesh Patel  03:33

Oh, what happen.

Kareem Rahma  03:37

Don’t spoil the show, man. Do you promise not to interrupt again?

Nimesh Patel  03:44

Yes, this is my first promise. On firstly, I promise, I won’t interrupt.

Kareem Rahma  03:50

you. Her career in architecture is unprecedented. She won an award every year from the year 2000 to her death counting one year where she won 12 awards, shattering records. Any cultured Architectural Digest subscriber might laugh at you for never having heard of her. So what kind of architect was Hadid? Well, she showed up to architecture school with paint instead of pencils, designed buildings with staircases that went nowhere and bent architecture into following her rules. Early on in her career, she told an interviewer I almost believed there was such a thing as zero gravity. I can now believe that buildings can float. The New Yorker called her the Lady Gaga of architecture. Even Forbes recognize the deal, and they include Zaha and the roundup of the 100 most powerful women in the world and Zaha and return use her influence to push young girls that were once like her to break the rules and make people love you for it. You have to ask me what number she was ranked on the Forbes list.

Nimesh Patel  05:02

What number one, she ranked on the Forbes list?

Kareem Rahma  05:05

Zaha was the first Arab and first woman to break through the upper echelon of architecture, the first Arab and first woman to win the famed Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is the top award in architecture. And you guessed it, the first Arab and first woman to design a major art studio in the United States.

Nimesh Patel  05:29

You fuck it up.

Kareem Rahma  05:31

For some reason, it’s like New York City, United States and […] all combined. So, here we go. First and foremost, let me just get this out of the way, though they have the same family name Zaha and the GG Bella sister squad are not related. The supermodels were born to a Palestinian father and Zaha’s family comes from Iraq, a place that was put on the map by both President Bushes and then more or less taken off the map by W. So the story starts like this Zaha Mohamed Hadid was born in 1952, a wealthy family in a period of economic growth. Zaha is Arabic for that time in the early afternoon when the sun turns white, and her family name Hadid does Arabic per steal.

Nimesh Patel  06:28

What a beautiful name.

Kareem Rahma  06:29

I’m really dumb. I’m Egyptian I speak Arabic. I’ve said the word Hadid let’s say 17 times, which is decent. I never realized that her name was Steel, which is fitting for an architect. The 1950s were a good time to be Iraqi, 20 years earlier in 1932. They declared their independence from the British and a new era of prosperity and excitement was brewing within the country.

Nimesh Patel  07:01

Fuck the Brits.

Kareem Rahma  07:04

You don’t like fish and chips?

Nimesh Patel  07:05

I’m anti-colonial Britain. I’m not anti the current country necessarily.

Kareem Rahma  07:11

You’re not anti-Gordon Ramsay. When Zaha was a kid Iraq was booming. She watched new buildings designed by famous European architects go off all around her ancient city. Zaha’s mother was an artist for mozal. Her father Mohamed […], Hussain Hadid was much more complicated. He was well educated. And it was important to him that his kids get education to he was a student at the London School of Economics where he encountered socialist democratic ideals. And when he came back to Baghdad, he tried to implement them in his work at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. That is, until he co-founded the socialist and democratic political party and participated in a couple of coos to overthrow the government.

Nimesh Patel  07:58

Oh, shit. So he was like a revolutionary.

Kareem Rahma  08:02

Sounds tight like, my dad, the best he did was take me to White Castle at midnight.

Nimesh Patel  08:12

That’s when you see the true society. White Castle at midnight is people that needy.

Kareem Rahma  08:18

All right, let me get back to her dad’s, Zaha’s dad had diplomatic status, and she’d accompany him on many trips overseas. Each summer they visit every important building and museum in whatever city they were in. But that isn’t where she developed her earliest taste for architecture. Zaha credits that were frequent trips to the ancient Sumerian ruins in southern Iraq. Those sites go back 4000 years, and are considered by most historians to be the site of earth’s first civilization ever. It sat right Zaha’s backyard and her words, growing up in Iraq, math was an everyday part of life. We would play with math problems, just as we would play with pens and paper to draw. Math was like sketching

Nimesh Patel  09:04

Nerd alert.

Kareem Rahma  09:12

Zaha decided she’d be an architect at age 11. Her family knew she was brilliant for how she could understand the world around her. They thought she could be an astronaut or a politician if she wanted to. So when she announced to her parents that she’d be an architect, they took her seriously. They gave her a job right away to redesign parts of the house.

Nimesh Patel  09:34

That’s fucking awesome. I remember I told my parents I wanted a job. Like just in high school that like money will corrupt you.

Kareem Rahma  09:44

That’s like good parents.

Nimesh Patel  09:46

They’re great parents. I’m just saying like, I could have been architect. could have been out here building stuff at age 11. I’d like Legos.

Kareem Rahma  09:53

The fact that they gave her, I mean at 11, they were like yo redesign the house.

Nimesh Patel  09:58

We trust that you’ll do a good job. Doesn’t matter if this collapses on your brother and sister at some point.

Kareem Rahma  10:03

When they said redesigned the house do you think they literally were like build that they were like re-interior design.

Nimesh Patel  10:10

No, I think they were like, Okay, what do you think this needs structurally? You know, we see the ruins in the backyard. Don’t do that.

Kareem Rahma  10:20

The ruins in the backyard. What would you change about the pyramids?

Nimesh Patel  10:24

I would make them be done by White slaves.

Kareem Rahma  10:29

So you don’t have a problem with how they look?

Nimesh Patel  10:31

I think they’re fantastic.

Kareem Rahma  10:32

I would make them squares. It looks cooler. All right, I’m gonna I’m gonna gloss over the rest of her early education because not much happened. She was just a smart kid trying to make her way through life. And then in 1972 Zaha has plans to become a famous architect start coming together. She’s 22. In 1972 Zaha has plans to become a famous architect started coming together, she traveled to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. That’s right, they use the word architecture twice. Have you ever heard of measure twice cut once? That’s like the opposite of Zaha. She didn’t use pencils and a ruler; she used paint and primary colors. She threw lines down where she felt like it and said she do the math later. One of her professors called Zaha the founder of 89 degrees. her classmates described watching her work this way. The way she drew a staircase, you would smash your head against the ceiling, and the space was reducing and reducing and you would end up in the upper corner of the ceiling. Honestly, this should make people feel scared. Don’t you want your architects to be precise? Zaha would take a big drag of a cigarette and keep painting like who cares?

Nimesh Patel  11:51

When I was in my architecture class, I was doing some wild shit too. I love contemporary architecture like Frank Lloyd Wright was my shit. Let’s get some wild angles and he does put a fucking spiral staircase with them belong this is all kind of goofy AutoCAD that you do have like weird circles and my rooms and all this kind of stuff and Mr. Stevenson would be pretty upset, like you can’t do this. Well, AutoCAD lets me do it.

Kareem Rahma  12:18

Was his real name Mr. Stevenson?

Nimesh Patel  12:19

Yes, shout out Mr. Stevenson in Parsippany Hills High School.

Kareem Rahma  12:22

I was in a class where I put the word Karmani on T shirts thinking as a fashion designer. Yo people fuckin fucked with Karmani.

Nimesh Patel  12:34

Karmani Exchange would be the great name for a used car sales lot.

Kareem Rahma  12:39

I was ahead of my time but anyways, Zaha like to these haters would just take a drag of a cigarette and be like, who cares? She smoked a lot of cigarette. She was very cool like that. I’m not saying smoke is school, but she was cool. So Zaha graduates and immediately gets a job working with the OMA, Office for Metropolitan Architecture. It’s an extremely respected architecture firm in the Netherlands, run by her own former professors Koolhaas and Zingales. And just a few years later, by 1977, she’d become a partner in the firm.

Nimesh Patel  13:18

Koolhaas. Isn’t that Koolhaas? Xin Gillis says in Shane Gillis. Wait, why do I feel like our only architects have like these dope fuckin like cool houses in […] like the town […] I’m out. I’m not buying a house from them.

Kareem Rahma  14:08

Damn, you have such good retention? Just a smart dude. Alright, alright, let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Zaha didn’t exactly have the dream start she wanted. She’d worked on some big projects. But all her ideas were written off as overly ambitious and nothing was being realized. She often felt ostracized in her words. People were patronizing towards me all the time. They didn’t know how to behave with me. I don’t know whether people responded to me in a strange way because they thought I was one of those eccentric people or they thought I was a foreigner or behave […] or I’m a woman. Hadid admits she was sometimes eccentric and then added, but I’m not a nutcase. For example, in 1978 Zaha, […] Koolhaas designed an extension for the Dutch parliament building in The Hague. The idea behind it was to make the metaphorical separation between government and public literal, as if they were two buildings intersecting each other. The design was rejected. But the painting is sketched by Zaha are now a part of a collection owned by the MoMA. But it’s not that Zaha isn’t getting the recognition. Her work is periodically published in architecture, magazines, and other architects are fascinated by it. But nothing she’s designed has been built. Her designs were simply for a lack of better words.

Nimesh Patel  14:57

No, I mean, together be a great architecture. But […] yeah, for sure.

Kareem Rahma  15:06

You would pick them over cool house in […]

Nimesh Patel  15:49

Koolhaas. They win the architecture firm name awards, a Pritzker Prize for Best name.

Nimesh Patel  16:06

Look at this woman. She thinks we can make this. Buildings up and down. That’s all we do.

Kareem Rahma  18:00

That’s what they were. The old white MS, this got to look like, it’s not going to work.

Nimesh Patel  18:06

Guys, keep it up. Just a reminder. I don’t know why this old White man turned into a homeless Black man. […].

Kareem Rahma  18:33

Put it on your resume. Her designs were simply for lack of better word, insane. You couldn’t tell where they started and where they ended there would be a massive curved roof and walls and staircases that looked like they weren’t ever even made out of concrete or building materials. The Port Authority building in Antwerp looks like it has a massive spaceship on top of him.

Nimesh Patel  19:04

Well, I do need to go to the bathroom.

Kareem Rahma  19:09

No, it’s okay. the Dong Demong Plaza looks like something out of an otherworldly sci-fi movie, on paper were designed pretty much looked like they couldn’t be built. Google. See for yourself people. You don’t google. I want the people. The people listening to this.

Nimesh Patel  19:30

[…] How do you spell?

Kareem Rahma  19:33

The Dong Daemun. Google them see for yourselves. But do not Google them. If you’re driving right now. I’m just trying to be safe. Still, that didn’t stop her from taking her career to the next level going it alone. In her words, you’re always trying to push the boundaries of every stage of your career. The work you do is always on the margin. But you need to push your works dimension because that’s the only way you can achieve a shift in the status quo. In 1980, she became a naturalized citizen of the UK and stepped away from OMA. This is the birth of a nation. Guess her architect name her firm’s name? This is the birth of Zaha Hadid architects.

Nimesh Patel  19:35

Come on, man.

Kareem Rahma  19:41

What do you call your place?

Nimesh Patel  20:47

Patel Rama productions. She starts her firm.

Kareem Rahma  20:54

I’m just impressed. Does anyone else ever told you that you have great retention? If someone had I would remember. So she starts with five employees. And this was an incredibly bold move at the time. It’s 1980. And we know that the 1988 only 4% of architects are women. This is eight years before that. And as of 2020, the number is still only 17%. So at this time, I’m just gonna guess that it was like 1% of women were architects. So like this is beast mode that she would start a place and it’s 90, maybe 232 years old. She enters an open call to design a leisure center getaway, on a big hill that overlooks Hong Kong. She knew her firm was new, so her proposal was going to need to stand out. So she brings with her to the meeting a handful of elegant paintings, some of them bright with sharp shapes and primary colors like […], others are dark organic that feel alive. One of the paintings is literally not even a design but rather the view of Hong Kong from the hill. Everyone else who pitch brought a portfolio with schematics and Zaha presented an artistic experience. It was an extremely ballsy plan. But it paid off.

Nimesh Patel  21:08

This is like, is there a movie about this lady? Feels like this should be a movie about this lady.

Kareem Rahma  22:18

Julia Roberts, put Julia Roberts in it.

Nimesh Patel  22:19

Yes, it’s Julia Roberts. the Whitest woman of all time.

Kareem Rahma  22:23

2022, you know White people can play Iraqis. Gives them some opportunities.

Nimesh Patel  22:30

This has to be a biopic at some point. That scene alone feels like it would be the major act one turn.

Kareem Rahma  22:38

Yeah, we’re gonna break into the second act, it says right here break into second act, directed by Nimesh Patel, Zaha Hadid biopic.

Nimesh Patel  22:54

Definitely gonna keep reading and looking at these buildings.

Kareem Rahma  22:57

So it pays off, she wins the bid. And this is a huge deal for her in the firm. It proved her firm ZHA, was a force to reckon with. The project eventually fell through. So Zaha would have to wait to see any of her designs come to life. But it didn’t matter. She was a star. But there was always, but her frustration was mounting. She didn’t have anything built out in the world to show for it. She knew it would take time.

Nimesh Patel  23:26

This is 1982, still, yeah. Did she build anything? Houses, small commercial buildings. It was just zero buildings, so she didn’t have a building for 13 years. What happened to the five people that she hired?

Kareem Rahma  23:42

I think they just drew; they were in the office drawing. So look, I Googled how long did it take to become an architect? And it said 8 to 11 years. Is that accurate? I mean, they say it takes 10 years to become a good stand-up comedian. And you’ve been grinding it out for 10 years. And that’s why I’m a podcaster.

Nimesh Patel  24:10

We all got to make our way somewhere, this is you building your Hong Kong portfolio.

Kareem Rahma  24:19

I’m too fucking visionaries. Okay, hold on. We’re getting to the very good part. So in 1993, it finally happens. A lightning strike started a fire in 1981 that wiped out half of the Vitra campus. This is a Swiss Family Owned furniture company in a little town in the most southwesterly point of Germany. With a current population of less than 1 million people.

Nimesh Patel  24:44

Still under investigation. We see you IKEA founder we know what you did. It started. This is not a conspiracy podcast.

Kareem Rahma  24:52

All right. I’ve been, he was like, you know what I’m gonna do I’m gonna burn this place down. I’m also gonna serve meatballs. And my furniture.

Nimesh Patel  25:00

When all the horses in that building die and it’s delicious.

Kareem Rahma  25:07

So let me get back to, he tried included a fire station and its plan to restore the campus to prevent the kind of tragedy from happening again, shout out IKEA founder. They received bids from some really famous names and architecture, not to be bested, Zaha Hadid again won the bid in the Zaha Hadid style and bold design. But she didn’t include a fire pole or anything like that in the fire station. So, Vito was like you know what? It’s chill. We’ll still get it. And now they use it as an exhibition and special event space. Because it can’t function as a firehouse. Without a fire mental. God damn. She was just like, that’s like..

Nimesh Patel  25:52

That’s like go down a pole.

Kareem Rahma  25:54

Yeah, that’s like a burrito shop being like, we fix iPhones now.

Nimesh Patel  26:00

Each little containers a different part of the iPhone. Yeah, take it a case.

Kareem Rahma  26:05

Chipotle for iPhone customization. Yeah, let me get one of those like Shadow Mirror so that no one can see what I’m texting. You got it right here. Oh my god is that thing so no one steals your jokes?

Nimesh Patel  26:14

It’s so when I’m on the plane and I’m typing like, man, wouldn’t it be crazy if dogs could and then someone sitting next to me, what the fuck is this fucking psychopath talking about.

Kareem Rahma  26:25

Oh, because it’s true. If you’re on a plane timing that they’re gonna be like, okay, this guy’s a little crazy.

Nimesh Patel  26:28

Yeah, this guy’s a fucking lunatic and it’s just like I’m on Instagram constantly like looking at butts.

Kareem Rahma  26:35

Oh, you have to do a butt purge. That’s what I did.

Nimesh Patel  26:38

You’ve unfollowed all the buts. No butts.

Kareem Rahma  26:41

Just comedians.

Nimesh Patel  26:43

What a choice you made.

Kareem Rahma  26:46

How many butts you follow? You literally just said zero butts.

Nimesh Patel  26:51

I can make shit up. Unfollowing all the butts. So the thing I said is true.

Kareem Rahma  26:59

Okay, enough about butts. Zaha. Let’s get back to Zaha. So to recap, Zaha started her architecture career in the 1970s but didn’t actually see any of her plans realized until 1993. That is 23 years of persistence. And I would have quit, for sure. I would have found a new career. She didn’t complete her first architectural project until she was 44 years old. Jon Hamm booked the role of Don Draper at 36. And I am 36. Now it’s a big year. So now it’s the 90s. And even with the building finished, she’s still struggling to shake to stigma that her designs aren’t feasible. Anybody else would have compromised and made whatever they knew they could sell but Zaha kept painting designs that seem to defy all the rules, even gravity. And then lightning finally strikes again in 1997. This time in Cincinnati is a house designed for contemporary art center is approved, and the building broke ground making it official. And then two years later in 1999, Zaha would again have one of her designs come to life. The Bergisel ski jump in Austria would mark the turning point for Zaha. Things were rolling. Let me show you the ski jump. Describe it for them.

Nimesh Patel  28:30

It kind of looks like if it were a robot, it will fight Robocop or something. You know, what I mean?

Kareem Rahma  28:37

Two years after that, in 2001, Zaha would have two more of her designs realized she was no longer a conceptual architect, but a building one. And in 2004, Zaha made history when she was awarded the Pritzker Prize the biggest award in architecture for the contemporary art center in Cincinnati. No Arab or woman has ever received that award before in its 26 year history and Zaha at age 53 was the first to win it. Since then five other women have won. But she remains the first and only arab person to win the award that comes with $100,000 cash prize. It was a huge honor and overnight Zaha stock was through the roof she was featured on the cover of architecture magazines like Architectural Digest wallpaper surprise, I’m gonna get into, she did a New York accent. She was featured on the cover of architecture magazine such as Architectural Digest wallpaper, surface Vogue, living and more tall building, tall building magazine and more. Clients will lining up to work for us. And Zaha was more than happy to work with them for a premium of course. What if I just did all of this in this accent and no one knew that’s probably the best accent I’ve had so far. That’s good. Now Zaha could kick it up a notch. The lodge of budges she wasn’t Now working with had given her even more ambition to push the wrong limits. This really showed in a design for the Federal Science Center in Wolfberg, Germany, which began construction in 1999 and was completed in 2005. Yes, no. I will for sure. Take the shadow screen off.

Nimesh Patel  30:23

Mike, I got something for you. You won’t believe this.

Kareem Rahma  30:28

You won’t believe, this guy’s incredible. Let me show you this building.

Nimesh Patel  30:53

It kind of looks like the Star Wars.

Kareem Rahma  31:40

I was gonna say. This massive building looks like it’s straight out of Star Wars. It’s a gigantic concrete structures sporadically decorated with organically shaped glass windows, the 79 million euro project looks almost alive, like a skyscraper laying flat on platforms that resemble legs like it could crawl away at any moment. Engineers told her it was impossible and she said make it possible. So they created an entirely new engineering software and it opened up a whole new world for engineering now called parametricism. With the Science Center done and inner portfolios, Zaha achieved what she set out to do when she was 11. create her own lane in architecture. But she didn’t stop there as I began experimenting with curvier shapes, pushing the boundaries of what was possible, creating a style of architecture..

Nimesh Patel  32:45

[…] time to time experiment with some curvy shapes. Yes, yes. Sorry. Go ahead.

Kareem Rahma  32:51

I appreciate it. Yes. But she didn’t stop there. Zaha began experimenting with curvier shapes, pushing the boundaries of what was possible creating a style of architecture that only she could conceive the more daring she got, the curvier the structure. Like the shape Zayed bridge which looks like a crossing held up by an ebbing and dipping switched from a paintbrush. Let’s look at this one.

Nimesh Patel  33:20

This is proof anything you can put on paper can physically be done. Yeah, it’s bananas. Anything is possible if we can do that, of course we can do that.

Kareem Rahma  33:29

We can fake going to the moon. Of course we can build a real bridge and that’s what we’re here to talk about. Did you know that Neil A spelled backwards? Is alien.

Nimesh Patel  33:42

I gotta go man.

Kareem Rahma  33:47

You think that the space pictures that they just released are real? All right. I can continue. So let me get to this. The National Museum of Arts in Italy she was designing impossible building after impossible building and all the while collecting accolades, the MAXXI Museum, which we talked about earlier in Italy, in 2010. The Evelyn Grace Academy in 2011 one Zaha back to back Sterling prizes. Let me show you that building.

Nimesh Patel  34:20

Very futuristic, futuristic snaky? It’s cool.

Kareem Rahma  34:27

Then she pretty much designed buildings and won awards, that’s all she did. She fucking killed it. She designed the London Aquatic Center which doesn’t look like it contains a single straight line at all. She designed the Riverside museum which won her the European museum Academy Michelotti award in 2012, the Galaxy Soho building in Beijing she also designed the Port Authority building in Belgium.

Nimesh Patel  34:48

As my magic word man, put authority.

Kareem Rahma  34:50

Almost, […] probably is not gonna like me after this.

Nimesh Patel  34:56

It’s so aspirational of you that you think he’s actually going to listen to this. It’s beautiful.

Kareem Rahma  35:01

I forgot to mention that our next guest is Michael Che. Just shoot him a text to be like hey man, you want to be on this awesome podcast with my boy Kareem. When I reference you can I say Oh, I was with my boy. Are you gonna say my boy Kareem?

Nimesh Patel  35:30

Let’s go back 10 years plus. Cut your teeth with me in the open like Frank’s, get blackout drunk. Plenty of times.

Kareem Rahma  35:44

I mean, like you said, anything’s possible. Anything’s possible. So I’m going to start designing a time machine.

Nimesh Patel  35:51

Just put it on a piece of paper give it to Zaha’s architects.

Kareem Rahma  35:54

So let me get back to it. At her peak, she had five offices and about 100 employees. She had a reputation for being like architectures. Anna Wintour. She was intense and usually wear tight all black outfits and a big diamond ring, a journalist wrote, she cuts a dramatic voluptuous figure in her black outfits above which large heavily loaded eyes and a purple painted lips that always seem to be set in a slightly unsatisfied pound. Turn on you like the guns of a well armored battleship. People would not describe me like that. They would just say he looks like a broke ass millennial Kramer. Whether she saw herself this way or not, she was keen to reassure others that they can break through the glass ceiling and Zaha stood out as a feminist icon. After becoming the first woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British architects in 2015. She declared architecture is no longer a man’s world. This idea that women can’t think three dimensionally is ridiculous. But the press didn’t always love her. A Vanity Fair writer called her spoiled and self-absorbed and Hadid’s gender probably colored how many reporters talked about her and her work. A journalist said her competence was confrontational and she was often called a diva, saw her rejected those labels as sexist, but she was also admired for being such an enigmatic woman. And though she was a naturalized British citizen, Queen Elizabeth declares I need a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the equivalent of someone being knighted and called Sir, this is an insane honor. But she’d only get to enjoy that title for a month before she died suddenly. Zaha Hadid died from a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis in 2016. At the tender age of 65. Many people close to her would believe that her work is what ultimately killed her. She was once quoted as saying..

Nimesh Patel  36:22

It was the cigarettes.

Kareem Rahma  37:59

Dr. Patel, you may have a point.

Nimesh Patel  38:04

It was really rocky tobacco from zero to age.

Kareem Rahma  38:16

Okay, I’m almost there. I’m almost there. She was once quoted as saying, If architecture doesn’t kill you, then you’re no good. You have to go at a full time. Can’t afford to dip in and out.

Nimesh Patel  38:31

Imagine if she was at unbuilding science and she just fell on Earth. This is how it’s supposed to go. Architecture doesn’t kill you.

Kareem Rahma  38:42

Oh, cartoon ending? Yeah, just like an anvil falls on her.

Nimesh Patel  38:46

Exactly. Bench. Then that quote would have been realistic.

Kareem Rahma  38:50

So maybe you go back with a time machine that I build for me to become boys.

Nimesh Patel  38:54

Together. We will go drop an anvil on Zaha Hadid. […]

Kareem Rahma  39:17

Her legacy lives on. In an essay titled Zaha Hadid was one of architectures greatest narcissists. A journalist wrote her flat was empty except for objects she designed herself, a curved sofa, swooping table and a futuristic tea set. There was little sign of pleasurable human occupation, no books, no CDs.

Nimesh Patel  40:02

Beautiful. She’s a genius.

Kareem Rahma  40:06

She’s like a monk. Well, look, I think Zaha did have fun, you know, design is life. That’s what she did for fun too. She designed furniture, jewelry, shoes, bags, interior spaces, such as restaurants and staple sets. And she also designed […]. Her head was so far up in the clouds that until she succeeded, nobody could really understand what the hell she was talking about. She is one of the greatest, most iconic architects of our time, and was an undisputed juggernaut in a world once perceived as a small club of esteemed older White gentleman. That’s the story of Zaha Hadid, thank you so much, Nimesh. Thank you for coming on the show.

Nimesh Patel  40:49

Thank you for having me. Thank you very much.

Kareem Rahma  40:50

I’m glad that we’re able to be composed through this experience. I guess I’m calling him a boy.

Nimesh Patel  40:59

You know, if you say it enough times it becomes true.

Kareem Rahma  41:01

That’s why we’re boys. All right, y’all next time on first. Meet Murray Foston and Daddy talk about the one and only Wendell Scott, the first Black NASCAR driver.

CREDITS  41:26

FIRST is produced by some friends and salts. Ad sales and distribution by Lemonada Media. The show is created and hosted by Kareem Rahma. Executive producers for some friends are Kareem Rahma, Andrew […], researched by […], original audio production music and sound design by Salt. Executive producers for Salt are […] salts Head of Production […], Salt’s head of engineering, […], Salt’s head of post-production Robert Adler’s, Production Manager Alice […], post production coordinator […], recording engineer Aaron Kennedy, edited and sound designed by […] Harris, dialogue supervision by Noah Kowalski. Additional sound design and music supervision by […], mixed by Ben O’Neil. Original music and composition by […] additional Music courtesy of extreme music recorded at Salt Studios in Los Angeles and the cutting room in New York City.

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