The enthusiasm surrounding Zaha Hadid onstage was raw: Notebooks flying, selfies snapping, people demanding if Hadid reads their e-mails. It was a strong reminder that regardless of any controversy, her influence is epic and expanding.

Last Thursday, the Chicago Architecture Biennial hosted a public conversation between Zaha Hadid and Jonathan D. Solomon, Director of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Unlike the recent BBC debacle, the attitude in the room was relaxed, even when Hadid revealed she had just come from the Cultural Center. “Do you have any thoughts on the Biennial? We understand that Patrik [Schumacher] went,” Solomon said.

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