A brief bio: Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016), warmly regarded as the “Queen of the Curve”, has managed to leave her imprint in the intricate and mesmerising world of architecture. On a male-dominated platform, she stood alongside master architects of the opposite gender whilst gifting the world with one ground-breaking design after another.
Every Hadid structure effortlessly blends fluid forms with user-friendly spaces. As an architect, the toughest part of designing is always bringing a rough concept to life through its details. These boundaries, too, were pushed through by her. She projected each one her works as a dramatic scene given physical form and speech.
Zaha Hadid, in all her works, has retained her neo-futuristic identity by playing around with architectural geometry by means of ‘Digital Architecture’. Seemingly an admirer of contemporary construction materials, each one of her structures is largely dominated by either glass or the various types of fabricated steel.
Breaking gender stereotypes just would not have sufficed as Zaha Hadid reached far beyond architectural stereotypes, too, to break into the world of product designing. Defining her designs seems impossible without using words like edgy, clean, geometrical, user-friendly, etc.
Heydar Aliyev Center (Baku, Azerbaijan)
One of the prime examples of Zaha Hadid’s maestro, the Heydar Aliyev Center stands as a unique futuristic structure amidst Baku’s other rigid buildings. A seamless blend of the plaza exteriors with an equally fluid public interior space welcomes its visitors.
A large walking zone i.e. the plaza leads up to the main structure, which allows the visitors to take in this large urban landscape feature. Using technology and materials in the form of cement and space frames, a homogenous structure has been given life. Without a single sharp angle, fluid geometry is synonymous in its exterior, as well as interior space.
London Aquatics Centre (London, United Kingdom)
Architects tend to derive inspiration for most structures from surrounding landscapes, nature or merely just the simple purpose of the structure. This provides for a design which is sensitive, yet innovative. Zaha Hadid has done visibly just that whilst designing her renowned London Aquatics Centre.
Zaha Hadid derived inspiration for this stadium from the what is known as the ‘butterfly stroke’ in swimming. Along with this, the organic and fluid manner of water is reflected in the form.The concept remains simple and strikes the naked eye at its first sight.
However, in true Hadid fashion, contemporary architecture dominates its construction i.e. pre-cast concrete and steel framing.
The exterior design helps reflect the surrounding context, which is the Olympic Park. This helps keep the interior and exterior in tune with each other, without compromising on the size.
Antwerp Port House (Antwerp, Belgium)
A spectacular example of what happens when design constraints are imposed upon master architects. The Antwerp government had sanctioned the construction of a new port house for a larger number of people. This proposal came along with the single condition that the old building must be retained as it is. The new structure, constructed on top of the old one, resembles a floating mass and implies ‘moving forward’ due to its strong and extended shape.
Glass and steel have been used abundantly in the new structure. As neither of the 4 facades could be concealed or shaded, light and ventilation are taken care of through the materials.
A variety transparent as well as opaque glass panels come together to form the exteriors, which help in streaming in the required amount of daylight.
Seamless construction, organic and inspired designs, contemporary facades and merging are just a few of Zaha Hadid’s designing legacies that are visible in the Antwerp Port House.
Jockey Club Innovation Tower (Hong Kong)
Giving a new dynamic to Hong Kong’s educational institutes and commercial architecture, Zaha Hadid’s Jockey Club Innovation Tower stuns with its visuals. Taking the irregular shape of the site into consideration, Zaha Hadid’s tact for moulding the impossible out of construction materials is visible from mere pictures.
The irregular patterns that form the key visual element for the exterior, are in close harmony with the interiors, as the same forms have been used for the circulation areas. These irregular but fluid forms give rise to additional buffer spaces. Such architecture truly provides for the right stimulation in a design student’s educational life.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Seoul, South Korea)
.>© Virgil Simon BertrandGiving a new definition to contemporary designing, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul stands as a prime example of the marvels possible with Digital Architecture. Various digital tools such as BIM, in collaboration with Zaha Hadid’s distinctive method of working with materials, have given rise to an urban complex that is as minimalistic in its colour palette as it is eccentric in its form and construction.
A principle rule in Architecture states that the space being designed must not offend the exterior surroundings, in terms of its design and usage. This design complex has been designed keeping in mind the above principle. Fabricated metallic panels help in giving this structure its fluidity.
As with every Hadid structure, the interior circulation spaces are user-friendly, all whilst maintaining a distinctive fluid and clean appearance.
Bergisel Ski Jump (Innsbruck, Austria)
An ode to designing on sloping sites, keeping in mind the site context and weather conditions, the Bergisel Ski Jump stands as a strong example. Designed in the 90s and early 2000s, Zaha Hadid managed to stun the masses with her understanding of contemporary architecture by using materials like cement, glass and steel in restrictive zones.
“An organic hybrid between a tower and a bridge”, as described by Zaha Hadid herself, the Bergisel Ski Jump was designed to seamlessly blend into the slopes of the surrounding mountains. Facilitating more than one activity, the structure manages to acquire lesser area than expected and yet stands out in terms of its minimalist approach.
One of her early designs, the Bergisel Ski Jump proves to be quite a sight when talking about how modern and out-of-the-box Zaha Hadid’s designs always were.
Sheikh Zayed Bridge (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
The proposal for the design of this bridge aimed to add another feather to Abu Dhabi’s cap of landmark elements. Zaha Hadid manages to draw inspiration for this bridge from undulating curvatures that are visible on sand dunes. This not only captures the real essence of a Middle Eastern city but also manages to stay in tune with Zaha Hadid’s signature style of designing fluid forms.
The colour used throughout i.e. light Ochre adds to the entire concept and inspiration behind the design. Awe-inspiring visual elements managed to brand the bridge as “the most intricate bridge ever constructed.”
Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China)
Another Hadid marvel that stands inspired by nature, the Guangzhou Opera House is in perfect harmony with its surrounding context i.e. the riverbank. Zaha Hadid derived inspiration for her designing process from the natural phenomenon of ‘erosion’ in river valleys, which brings about changes in the topography that resemble the form of this structure.
The design manages to perfectly blend its concept with usability as each one of the ‘ruptures’ on the surface of this structure. It acts as a point of differentiation between the activity spaces housed inside it. Using glass panels appropriately, the exterior remains in tune with the interior spaces, drawing in sufficient light whilst maintaining enclosure wherever required.
A structure that can be rightfully termed as ‘neo-futuristic’, Zaha Hadid does justice to the urban architecture of China. Contemporary materials have played a huge part in giving the Guangzhou Opera House its eccentric Hadid flavour.
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (Michigan, USA)
Establishing a strong relationship with its surroundings, the Eli and Edythe Museum physically interprets the impact of architecture on the people and nature, and vice versa. Zaha Hadid managed to use the complicated set of connecting streets and pathways as an inspiration whilst designing. These pathways have been composed in the form of first 2-Dimensional, and then 3-Dimensional planes to form an interesting set of facades for the structure.
The exterior topography and landscape are easily reinterpreted with the use of materials and their colour scheme. Geometry has been used efficiently by Zaha Hadid as natural light is drawn into each of the interior spaces whilst sharp angles ensure the blocking of an intense glare of light.
Protruding angles have paved way for interesting circulation patterns and buffer spaces, both inside and out.
Pierres Vives (L’Herault, France)
Deriving its inspiration for form and usability from a horizontally aligned trunk, the Pierres Vives complex leaves the viewer perplexed due to its unusual facades. Zaha Hadid, whilst designing, uses the different requirements of every activity as a guideline to design its specific openings.
Activity division and, hence, façade designing becomes more obvious upon viewing the structure closely, as the Pierres Vives consists of enclosed, porous and branched out open spaces. As every Hadid structure does, the Pierres Vives manages to establish a connection between interior and exterior spaces, even if just visually. The facades are decorated with cantilevered canopies that infuse a deeper play of light and shadow.
Monotony gets broken with the introduction of colour in the form of horizontal slits.
Zaha Hadid’s stance for keeping the viewer and user engaged works its magic again with the Pierres Vives.
About the author:
Mahika Kothawade, currently studying Mass Communication, also has a keen interest in architecture. Her thirst for knowledge drives her to keep an up-to-date knowledge of current affairs around the world.