Nearly a decade after being elected the first female recipient of the Pritzker Prize, Dame Zaha Hadid, continues to stun with beautiful creations and her signature style. Her first residential building in New York City will soon stand on Manhattan’s 28th street. It promises to be 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 Related Companies New York, Hadid’s firm has unveiled its plan for a luxury condo complex adjacent to High Line Park. The architect is finally putting her stamp in the Big Apple. Those familiar with Hadid’s oeuvre will understand the significance of the location: previously, her plan for High Line underwhelmed.
The design features her characteristic elegant curve; a bit restrained given the size of the project. The complex will sit on a relatively small lot that will contain 37 residences situated within eleven stories. The condos will take up to 5,500 square feet, with 11-foot ceilings, technological integration, and state of the art finishes. We can be sure these residences will be 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 new building will be located in Chelsea, a community that continues to thrive as new restaurants and galleries move to the area. Hadid’s new luxury construction adds to the vibrant character of the neighborhood.
On the other side of the world, by the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan searches for a new identity. This September, the Heydar Aliyev Centre, a much larger Hadid firm project, is set to open in Baku, the 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 will be located in the city center with the purpose of giving its residents an iconic institution that will reflect the cultural values of the Central Asian nation.
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 is 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 will also house 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.
Zaha Hadid’s space-age creations can be observed (and enjoyed) throughout the world, but New York and Baku will mark firsts for the Baghdad-born architect, known for her postmodern swooshing designs. As different as New York and Baku may be, both cities have agreed to bring into their skylines buildings signed with the masterful artistry of Zaha Hadid. ■