Today we bring to you the work of the Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. She was amongst the most prominent design figures worldwide and her buildings include the London Aquatics Centre (used in the 2012 Summer Olympics), the Vitra Fire Station in WeilamRhein in Germany, China’s Guangzhou Opera House, and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
Hadid grew up in Baghdad and studied at the American University of Beirut before transferring to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She worked for her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, at their firm in the Netherlands, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and became a partner there in 1977. In 1979, she established her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London. She was made a Dame in 2012 and is now known for buildings from New York to Azerbaijan; Hadid also had about a dozen projects in progress. Her furniture designs are highly coveted, and recently, the architect expanded into jewelry, unveiling a jewelry collection with Georg Jensen at Baselworld.
Hadid’s architectural language has been described as “famously extravagant” with many of her projects sponsored by “dictator states”. Rowan Moore described Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center as “not so different from the colossal cultural palaces long beloved of Soviet and similar regimes”. Architect Sean Griffiths characterized Hadid’s work as “an empty vessel that sucks in whatever ideology might be in proximity to it”. Art historian Maike Aden criticizes, in particular, the foreclosure of Zaha Hadid’s architecture of the MAXXI in Rome towards the public and the urban life that undermines even the most impressive program to open the museum.
Zaha Hadid also undertook a couple of high-profile interior design projects, including the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome in London as well as creating fluid furniture installations within the Georgian surroundings of Home House private members club in Marylebone, and the Z.CAR hydrogen-powered, three-wheeled automobile. In 2009 she worked with the clothing brand Lacoste, to create a new, high fashion, and advanced boot. In the same year, she also collaborated with the brassware manufacturer Triflow Concepts to produce two new designs in her signature parametric architectural style.
In 2010, Hadid was commissioned by the Iraqi government to design a new building for the Central Bank of Iraq. An agreement to complete the design stages of the new CBI building was finalized on 2 February 2012, at a ceremony in London. This will be her first project in her native Iraq. Other work includes Pierres Vives, the new departmental records building (to host three institutions, namely, the archive, the library, and the sports department), for the French department Hérault, in Montpellier.
Hadid’s project was named the best for the Vilnius Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in 2008. She designed the Innovation Tower for Hong Kong Polytechnic University, scheduled for completion in 2013, and the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion which was displayed in Hong Kong in 2008.
The Roatán Próspera Residences is a residential project where ZHA collaborated with engineering consultancies AKT II and Hilson Moran to make it a more environmentally-friendly project. One of the main features of this ambitious and enticing complex project will be a digital parametric platform developed by Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational and Design Group will be available to residents, which will permit the possibility of customization, especially in regard to their housing module’s size, arrangement, and furniture designs.
The Chinese Cultural Centre project is a 115,000-square-metre cultural complex located beside Meixi Lake in Changsha, the capital of the Hunan province. It contains a theatre, contemporary art museum, and a smaller multi-purpose venue, which Zaha Hadid Architects has placed in three sinuous, petal-shaped buildings.
The complex’s centerpiece is The Grand Theatre, which is the largest performance venue in the city and holds performances for up to 1,800 people. This project by Zaha Hadid puts the city of Changsha on the map as one of the country’s leading cultural and media hubs.