New York and Baku


Zaha Hadid’s Legacy Buildings in New York and Baku

Patricia Abaroa


We remember the legacy of Pritzker-winning architect Zaha Hadid with a review of two of her latest works. Her High Line building in Chelsea, New York, and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, are two fine examples of the late architect’s mastery of avant-garde design and techniques.


The late Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, left behind an impressive body of work that covers locations all around the world. Two of her latest projects are reviewed here. Her first residential building in New York City stands on Manhattan’s 28th street is glamorous and futuristic with just enough restraint, located in a neighborhood that has been flourishing for the past few years. In Baku, the capital of the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, Hadid’s post-futuristic design vocabulary heralds what is to come in this oil-rich city.

Commissioned by The Related Companies New York, Hadid’s firm designed a luxury condo complex adjacent to High Line Park. The architect put her stamp in the Big Apple, and those familiar with Hadid’s oeuvre will understand the significance of the location. This was her first residential building in New York City.

zaha hadid, high line apartments, heydar aliyev centre, baku, azerbaijan, luxury buildings

The design features her characteristic elegant curves, a bit restrained given the size of the project. The complex sits on a relatively small lot that will contain 37 residences situated within eleven stories. The condos take up to 5,500 square feet, with 11-foot ceilings, technological integration, and state of the art finishes. These residences are dynamic in form with expansive floor plans. Even with multiple elevator cores, many units will have their own vestibules, giving buyers that much more privacy within their abodes.

The exterior of the structure is smooth with softened corners and wraparound glass, which provide different views of High Line. Two wings of uneven heights and a chevron pattern give the exterior a contemporary look, which differentiates it from surrounding buildings. Double height entrance lobby doors lead the way into a relaxing and upscale complex. As if views of the High Line weren’t enough for winding down, buyers will also enjoy the added amenities of an indoor pool and spa, an entertainment space, playrooms, and a curvaceous roof terrace.

The building is located in Chelsea, a community that continues to thrive as new restaurants and galleries move to the area. Hadid’s luxury construction adds to the vibrant character of the neighborhood.

On the other side of the world, by the Caspian Sea, the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan searches for a new identity with a new gleaming structure by Hadid. The Heydar Aliyev Centre, a much larger Hadid firm project, is the pride of the Baku, the country’s capital city.

The Heydar Aliyev Centre symbolizes the social reconstruction of the city of Baku, which is trying to find its own identity, free from Soviet rule. The building is located in the city center with the purpose of giving its residents an iconic institution reflects the cultural values of the Central Asian nation.

zaha hadid, high line apartments, heydar aliyev centre, baku, azerbaijan, luxury buildings

From outside, the arching structure has a continuous undulating body. The curvilinear design differentiates it from most of the surrounding monumental architecture, left behind from the Soviet era. The building was constructed with more than 12,000 angular panels, and there is not a straight line in sight. The beautiful outer layer acts as a single curving surface that rises from the ground flawlessly. The way this structure flows makes it a relaxing presence in a very busy city that continues to grow.

With over 1,000,000 square feet of room, the Centre is spacious but never overwhelming. The interior is softened with hues of natural light, filtering through glazed slots. The architect achieved three distinct structures that will serve different needs: museum, library and auditorium, each with its own private entrance. The Centre also houses small galleries and conference rooms.

This internationally recognized architectural structure has already been nominated for awards at both the Inside Festival Biennial and the World Architecture Festival. The Heydar Aliyev Center paves the way for the future architecture of Baku, which will surely shed the rigidity of Soviet totalitarianism to embrace the curvilinear futuristic aesthetics of Hadid.

Dame Zaha Hadid’s (October 1931-March 2016) space-age creations can be observed throughout the world, but New York and Baku marked firsts for the Baghdad-born architect, known for her postmodern swooshing designs. As different as New York and Baku may be, both cities are lucky to have elevated the character of their skylines with emblematic buildings from one of the greatest architects who ever lived.  ■


© azureazure.com | 2018