Zaha Hadid conceived her architectural work as a transformation of the vision of the future, with new concepts and visionary forms. Zaha lived up to the greatest architects and became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004, revolutionizing a guild in which the female figure had remained in the background. She has bequeathed us a unique and personal vision of 21st century architecture, and managed to create works and designs full of originality, strength and avant-garde.
Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1950. Daughter of Wajiha al-Sabunji, an artist from Mosul, and Mohammed Havid, an Iraqi politician who defended democratic values in the country, studied mathematics at the American University in Beirut and later moved to England where he will receive a diploma from the Architectural Association in London. There, you’ll meet highly prestigious architects – like Rem Khoolhaas – who will have a great influence on Hadid’s architectural vision.
In 1980 she founded her own architectural studio in London’s own town, where he established her residence. Although during that decade and the years 90 her creations were not beyond the sketches, in 1988 all those ideas of projects embodied on paper were exhibited at MOMA in New York, which would allow him to make his first work a reality.It is the fire station of the Vitra factory (Germany), built in 1994. A sculptural building in which the forms are appreciated thanks to the imperfection that causes the asymmetry on which it is based.
She also devoted much of her career to teaching, teaching at the world’s best universities such as Harvard, Yale, the University of applied Arts in Vienna, the HFBK in Hamburg, or the same school she trained in London.
She also designed both interior spaces and furniture and even consumer products such as Z.car, a three-wheel car prototype that runs on a hydrogen engine, as well as shoes she launched with Lacoste or her own version of the “Bucket bag”, for Louis Vuitton.
The works of the Iraqi architect are identified by a deconstructivist character that proposes the segmentation of structures that generate disintegrated spaces and trigger irregular forms. This current destroys the idea that the constructions must be symmetrical to reach proportion, enhancing asymmetries.
On the other hand, his works relate to the architecture movement of the 21st century known as neofuturism. Zaha Hadid’s creations consist of a great technical complexity and the use of novel materials that are incorporated by the application of technology in the implementation process, as part of the building facilities. A common factor in this current is that it is part of the ideal of gathering art, technology and ethics. In this way, the structures of Zaha Hadid create a vision of the buildings that were part of the cities of the future.
This is demonstrated by designs such as the Zaragoza Pavilion-Bridge, built for the 2008 Universal Exhibition or the London Aquatic Center, which was set up for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Hadid’s buildings consist of a certain minimalist esthetic, with a predominance of curves that generate fluidity and movement, as well as the use of plasticity in forms and the design of angular terminations that achieve evocative and futuristic patterns.As a result, the constructions are imbued with dynamism and a sculptural language.
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati is one of the most significant projects to be the first one in the United States. The building is intended to exhibit temporary collections of various artistic types.It is composed of galleries with rectangular cubic shapes arranged in different volumes, Hadid structured it on the basis of the concept he coined as “urban carpet”, thus achieving continuity between the public road and the ground floor through the resource of the glazed walls. This creates a continuous surface that flows into urban fabric from the lobby to the top floors.
Another work to mention is the Museum of Contemporary Art 21st Century (MAXXI). It is located in Rome and was completed in 2009. It is a construction that seems to break into a city known for the classical and traditional esthetics of its architecture. However, Zaha Hadid combined the idea of city tradition that surpassed and exceeded the interiors of the building, expanded to encompass also the outer space with expansive views.
The building is used as a place of research and exhibition of new artistic expressions. It is characterized by the mixture of geometric overlays and the sinuosity of the lines. Different levels of shapes generate a conversation between construction and space. The interior path leads to crossing and following different and unexpected paths. Thanks to this project Zaha Hadid received the fourth RIBA award and its first Stirling award.
The Guangzhou Opera is a prominent feature of his work in China. The location of the project is strategic in the city, on the banks of the Pearl River. It is a clear example in its construction of the importance that Zaha Hadid gives to the place: The design of the building refers to the eroded stones and integrates the water in order to harmonize the building and its surroundings.It opened in 2010 and can attend opera performances, symphonic performances, concerts and other events from different artistic disciplines. It is a project with which it is intended to produce the interaction of nature and architecture. Materials such as steel, glass for luminosity, as well as small lights for night lighting and drywall and concrete are used as regards the building’s cladding.The larger construction includes a lobby, auditorium, lounge and exhibition hall, while the smaller volume room is for a multi-purpose room. Interiors are structured with wavy ceilings and bright rooms, either by natural light or artificial lighting, giving rise to open spaces and perspectives.
Another major project of Zaha Hadid is the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The importance of this work lies in the meaning it takes for a city characterized by the urban organization of the Soviet Union but which has changed dramatically. This building is considered to be one of the most significant of the transformation of Baku into a modern and advanced city.After independence from the U.R.S,S the country invested a lot of money in modernizing urban planning and architecture with the aim of looking to the future. As a result, this building was first launched in 2013, reflecting the optimism and enormous change of the nation. It brings together exhibition halls, a conference center, offices and an auditorium. The aim of the project was to establish it as a central place to take up the cultural life of citizens. In this case, the irregularity of the ground is used to build it and it joins the geometries of the vicinity with the undulations of the construction, which seem to leave the surface. The complex is composed of branches and folds and the interiors are a clear example of the authenticity, elegance and originality that distinguishes the architect.
Zaha Hadid revolutionized contemporary architecture and became the precursor of other architectural and interiorist women, whom he has given voice to show her talent. She was able to tell, through her creations, the reality of a new society in which architecture has a social sense and progress, as well as imagination, utility and beauty. There is no doubt that her death in 2016 represents a great loss for the architecture of our time.