It is difficult to keep up with the prolific works of Zaha Hadid. The first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize for Architecture keeps busy in all continents. London-based Hadid enlists a team of 300 professionals, but her creativity touches on all aspects of design: from furniture to cars, boats to boots, corporate buildings, residences, museums, factories, hotels, and even theaters. If this wasn’t enough, she teaches and lectures at several universities.
Her unlimited talent goes hand in hand with her creative energy.
An unavoidable question when observing the monumental dimension of her curvilinear designs is whether these immense shapes that graciously fold into parallel and geometric lines would be possible without the digital design programs available to architects today? One of her works currently on display addresses precisely that question.
The installation Pleated Shell Structures, at the Southern California Institute of Architecture is an exploratory exercise designed to find the synergy between architectural articulation, engineering logistics, and other challenges at the moment of construction. In other words, this prototype attempts to demonstrate the complexity of adapting the digital scale model to the reality of contemporary architecture. One thing is to see the project in virtual space and another to implement it in concrete reality. Saved these possible responses, let’s observe the ubiquity of Zaha Hadid during the past months.
Last fall welcomed the highly anticipated opening of the Art Museum at Michigan State University. The monumental building on the university campus was completed thanks to an $18.5 million donation by Michigan State alumnus Eli Broad. In a departure from the massive curved walls and spiral forms characteristic of Hadid’s work, the museum is an asymmetrical rectangle that blends into the campus greenery during summer and its snowed landscapes in winter. The Michigan light filters through the windows in the interior galleries creating an atmosphere of geometric figures and shadows.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opened on November 9th, and it is expected to draw many visitors, who will travel to the site during the following months and years just to study this newest building by Hadid.
Hadid also premiered Arum at the Venice Biennal of Architecture, a massive pleated steel column that astonished visitors.
Those who visited London during the Olympics were able to view the Hadid designed Aquatic Center, where Michael Phelps broke records in medals and applause.
France will also delight on her designs. The “Pierres Vives” complex was recently inaugurated in Montpellier. This collection of concrete and glass buildings houses the library, archives and municipal offices of this city in Southern France.
And Miami does not stay behind. Zaha Hadid has been chosen to join the roster of great architects that have worked in the Magic City, architects like Frank Gehry, Herzog & de Meuron, Enrique Norton, and Cesar Pelli. Hadid designed the Miami Beach parking garage on Collins Avenue, which will adorn the city’s skyline. The building will be finished in 2014, and visitors will be privy to cascading ondulations caressing the cars. It promises to be the epitome of the architecture of this revolutionary designer of monumental spaces. She will also design her first Miami apartment building on Biscayne Boulevard.
The Anglo-Iraqi architect is currently working on the design of the Innovation Tower at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, the new National Stadium in Tokyo, and the future private residence of Naomi Campbell in Moscow’s posh Rubliovka neighborhood, a surprise gift from boyfriend Vladislav Doronin. ■