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Architectural marvels from “Queen of the curve” - Zaha Hadid

- By Dwaipayan, 01 March 2021 | 10 MIN READ


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Zaha Hadid was a British Iraqi architect, artist, and designer known as a key figure in architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Her unexpected demise shook the world of architecture and abruptly ended her astonishing career. She was described by The Guardian as the "Queen of the curve". Today, Zaha Hadid Architects remains one of the top architecture firms in the world. Hadid was the first woman to be recognized with Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. Some of her major feats include designing the largest single-building airport terminal in the world, London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum, Rome's MAXXI Museum, and the Guangzhou Opera House.

Hadid’s approach to design is often understood to be deconstructivism— a movement of postmodern architecture that appeared in the 1980s a style of architecture that breaks down and manipulates forms to create startling works. Each project devised by Hadid feels like a new study, It gives the impression of the fragmentation of the constructed building, commonly characterized by an absence of obvious harmony, continuity, or symmetry with incredible curves, futuristic and hardly seems to be real for our era.

Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq to a wealthy industrialist from Mosul. Hadid pursued mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Hadid had extraordinarily high expectations for herself and all those around her. She once said, “Architecture is like writing,”. “You have to edit it over and over so it looks effortless.” Looking at her impossibly complicated curving and twisting projects, it is clear to see that her precision paid off. 

Read on to see some exemplary works of architecture by Zaha Hadid. 

Vitra Fire Station  

One of her first clients and Hadid's first architectural projects. Her extreme design, made of raw concrete and glass, was a sculptural work composed of sharp diagonal forms colliding all together in the center. The design plans appeared in architecture magazines before construction. A piece of marvel, Weil-am-Rhein later opened their fire station and the Vitra Fire Station is now used for exhibitions. Vitra Fire Station is a launching pad of her architectural career.

Vitra Fire Station

Guangzhou Opera House 

Inspired by natural earth forms, Guangzhou Opera House is referred to as the "two pebbles". It emerges akin to two giant smooth-edged boulders faced with 75,000 panels of polished granite and glass. The structure makes for dazzling photographs as it reflects off the Pearl River. Two rare boulder-shaped masses welcome visitors into a new cultural center with their leaning glass façades. Here Hadid Architects explains “pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion” to create the profiles of the Guangzhou Opera Houses. The touch of the maestro, Guangzhou Opera House helped to ascertain the neighboring area’s identity as an important cultural region in Guangzhou.

Guangzhou Opera House

Phaeno Science Center 

This futuristic marvel of Hadid stood out as a modern but elegant solution that met the demands of a center dedicated to science. Phaeno Science Center is now considered an iconic presence in Wolfsburg, Germany. She planned for space under the building to be packed with activity, and each of the 10 massive inverted cone-shaped columns that hold closes up the building contains a cafe, a shop, or a museum entrance. The tilting columns reach up through the building and support the roof. The museum structure looks like an enormous ship, with sloping walls and asymmetric scatterings of windows, and the interior, with its angular columns and exposed steel roof framework, gives the illusionary feeling of being inside a working vessel or laboratory.

Phaeno Science Center

Galaxy SOHO 

A major among Hadid's later works in Asia. The Galaxy SOHO in Beijing, China (2008–2012) is a fusion of offices and a commercial centre in the heart of Beijing city covering a total of 332,857 square metres, composed of four unique ovoid glass-capped buildings joined together by several curving passageways on different levels. Galaxy SOHO is a construction of four domed buildings connected by bridges that create pockets of public space. It could be closely associated with another Beijing building designed by Hadid called Wangjing Soho. Galaxy SOHO’s central organization is inspired by traditional Chinese courtyards. 

Phaeno Science Center

Havenhuis Antwerpen

Havenhuis Antwerpen, is a government building assigned to act as the new headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority. The challenge for this building gave the strict necessity that the firehouse must be preserved. Hadid’s bid for this adaptive reuse project included a secondary glass-covered building that would be placed just above the fire station and would be reinforced by a single column. Indeed a splendid work of art!

Havenhuis Antwerpen

520 West 28th Street 

520 West 28th Street, also popularly called the Zaha Hadid Building, is located in New York City. The building was her only residential project in New York[2] and one of her final projects before her death. The building is located along the High Line. The opulent 520 West 28th Street includes four art galleries on the ground floor, luxury apartments, and a duplex penthouse recessed from the edge of the building.

520 West 28th Street

The Heydar Aliyev Center 

A colossal cultural and conference centre comprising three auditoriums, a library, and a museum, with a total space of 10,801 square meters on a surface of 15,514 square meters, and a height of 74 metres. The Heydar Aliyev Center is perhaps the most universally recognized building designed by Hadid. The amazing simplicity and delightful connection between building and landscape make this building one of Hadid’s finest works. An eight storied, the centre includes an auditorium with 1000 seats capacity, exhibition space, conference hall, workshop, and a museum. The wave-like shape and the overall view are unique and harmonic. Such an architectural edifice stands for post-modernist architecture and forms oceanic feeling. The lines of the building represent the merging of past and future.

The Heydar Aliyev Center

The Sheikh Zayed Bridge 

An ambitious bridge and is a bit different from the other structures on this list. Although it is not technically a building, you may still be able to appreciate that this model came from the “Queen of the Curve.” The unique bridge joins Abu Dhabi Island to the Gulf south shore and adds four lanes of traffic each way, the four lanes are 842 metres long and include pedestrian walkways.

The Sheikh Zayed Bridge

Beijing Daxing International Airport 

Nicknamed the starfish, Beijing Daxing International Airport, is the largest single-building airport terminal in the world. The airport was posed with some extreme structural challenges and the most notable one on ZHA’s extensive portfolio. The airport is designed to handle 72 million passengers annually by 2025, with mesmerizing interiors of Beijing Daxing Airport, Hadid’s organization to meet this demand may be the best part of the design. The design behind the radial starfish is to streamline passenger flows and minimize walking times and distances between gates. A simplified airport program into distinct floors for international and domestic travel.

Beijing Daxing International Airport

One Thousand Museum 

One Thousand Museum is an impressive piece of her creation an exoskeleton that wraps around a gently curving glass tower. The building is situated on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami Florida and the tallest in the city. Its distinguishable glass fiber reinforced concrete skeleton will help you pick out Hadid’s uniqueness amongst the other glass towers sadly, Hadid passed away during the construction of One Thousand Museum and the project took 3 years after her death.

One Thousand Museum

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