Saturday, April 2, 2016

Zaha Hadid

I am an eccentric, I admit it, but I am not a nutcase -- Zaha Hadid

Architect Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-born English architect of great distinction, died earlier this week.

In 2004, Hadid was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, the highest honor in her field.   Her inclinations, well established by then, were further defined in her later work.  She was known not for monumental obsessions or decorated buildings but rather for the undulating lines of her structures.

Below is a Hadid design, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which opened in London in 2013.  It is an old armory repurposed as a museum with a gathering space on the back.  The addition doesn't look like the original building, but if you think about it, why should it?  The 18th century ended almost three centuries ago.  Plus, the interior view of the addition seems very inviting.

Here's what Hadid said of her work:

"We don't deal with normative ideas, and we don't make nice little buildings. People think that the most appropriate building is a rectangle, because that's typically the best way of using space. But is that to say that landscape is a waste of space? The world is not a rectangle. You don't go into a park and say: 'My God, we don't have any corners.'"

She insists that all of her buildings are entirely practical; they are just constructed around different organizational patterns. "It's like saying that everyone has to write in exactly the same way. And it is simply not the case."

Other Projects Since 2010

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku

Galaxy Solo, Beijing

A skylight view

London Olympics Aquatic Center

Guangzhou Opera House

Dama Zaha (she was knighted in 2012) is in the foreground

Still under construction is a soccer stadium in Qatar, designed by Hadid for 2022 World Cup.

In Retrospect

Hadid died at 65 after a brief illness and sudden heart attack.  This is somewhat unusual for prominent architects, many of whom live and work long after normal retirement age.   

Renzo Piano, who won the Pritzker in 1998, is still busy at age 78.  So is Richard Rodgers, Pritzker 2007, at age 83.  So too, is American Frank Gehry, 87, who won the Pritzker in 1989;  his unusual home design for an artist friend is now under construction in Venice, CA.

And so is Rem Koolhaas, 79, the 1998 Pritzker winner who influenced Hadid in her early career.  Here are two Koolhaas buildings coming together now in Miami's Faena district.  

Faena Forum

Faena House

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