News of Zaha Hadid’s death has reached southern Italy. It has made me think back on her career. I first became aware of her – other than through the controversy surrounding the Cardiff opera house – through an exhibition of her drawings and designs which was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art over Christmas 1997. They were astonishingly inventive. At the time, they seemed like fantasies and one was not encouraged to think of them as buildable. They were comments on the language of architecture. But the last two decades have seen versions of them built – magnificent free structures in the tradition of the Russian constructivists – including the Olympic Aquatics Centre which is the best place to see her work in London. In an interview with Alain Elkann conducted in August 2012, she ends by saying ‘You need to convince other people to do the impossible. This is my profession’. A great loss.