Page N1.2 . 31 March 2004                     
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  • Zaha Hadid Pritzker Prize
     
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    Zaha Hadid Pritzker Prize

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    Jetting to the Top

    Born in Baghdad, she studied at the Architectural Association in London and was a partner in the Office of Metropolitan Architecture with Rem Koolhaas. Over the years, she has taught at Harvard, Yale, and other universities. She is currently at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. She has been made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture, and a Commander of the British Empire, 2002.

    In the citation from the Pritzker jury, her controversial work is described, variously, as audacious, dynamic, original, fearless, visionary, fragmented, abstract, complex, and outrageous.

    Juror Frank Gehry observed that she is "probably one of the youngest laureates and has one of the clearest architectural trajectories we've seen in many years. Each project unfolds with new excitement and innovation." Juror Karen Stein noted: "Over the past 25 years, Zaha Hadid has built a career on defying convention — conventional ideas of architectural space, of practice, of representation, and of construction."

    Adds juror Jorge Silvetti: "What she has achieved with her inimitable manipulation of walls, ground planes, and roofs, with those transparent, interwoven, and fluid spaces, are vivid proof that architecture as a fine art has not run out of steam and is hardly wanting in imagination."

    Built Work

    The Richard and Lois Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati is her only completed work in the United States. The art center provides spaces for temporary exhibitions, performances, and administrative and educational facilities.

    To draw in pedestrians and create a sense of dynamic public space, the entrance, lobby, and circulation system are organized as an "urban carpet." The ground curves slowly upward as it enters the building, rising to become the back wall, leading visitors up a suspended mezzanine ramp through the full length of the lobby.

    The mezzanine ramp continues to rise until it penetrates the back wall, on the other side of which it becomes a landing at the entrance to the galleries. The galleries appear to be carved from a single block of concrete, floating over the lobby. Views into the galleries from the circulation system vary as the stair-ramp zigzags upward through a narrow slit at the back of the building. These galleries of interlocking solids and voids have been likened to a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

    The Vitra Fire Station in Germany was built on a factory site. So that it would not be lost between the large existing sheds, the building was made long and narrow, a linear, layered series of walls stretching along a street at the site's edge.

    According to the architect, the building "expresses the tension of being on the alert; and the potential to explode into action at any moment. The walls appear to slide past each other, while the large sliding doors literally form a moving wall." She gave special attention to the sharpness of edges of the concrete building, avoiding roof edgings, window frames, or claddings that might distract from the simple prismatic form.

    LFone Landesgartenschau was designed as an event and exhibition space for the garden festival in Weil am Rhein, Germany, in 1999. The structure is described as emerging "from the fluid geometry of the surrounding network of paths."

    The exhibition hall and cafe stretch along the existing garden paths, admitting sunlight and views from the exterior. A terrace with a covered performance space is located to the south and a half-submerged center for environmental research is situated to the north.

    In a formal ceremony on May 31, 2004 , Hadid will be honored at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. She will be joining the ranks of other recent Pritizker Prize winners: Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands, (2000), Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Switzerland (2001), Glenn Murcutt of Australia (2002), and Jørn Utzon of Denmark (2003).   >>>

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    The Pritzker Prize jury was chaired by Lord Rothschild, former chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, London and also included Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman of the Board, Vitra, Germany; Frank O. Gehry, architect and Pritzker Laureate 1989, Los Angeles; Ada Louise Huxtable, architectural critic, New York; Carlos Jimenez, professor of architecture at Rice University, Houston, Texas; Karen Stein, editorial director of Phaidon Press, New York; Jorge Silvetti, professor of architecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Pritzker executive director Bill Lacy, of the State University of New York at Purchase.

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio was designed by 2004 Pritzker Prize laureate Zaha Hadid.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    The Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria, by Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    Bergisel Ski Jump.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    Bergisel Ski Jump.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany by Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid.
    Photo: Hélène Binet

    ArchWeek Image

    Architect's painting of the Vitra Fire Station.
    Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

     

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