Changing Shapes of Space - Zaha Hadid
by Aaron Betsky
Since 2000, Zaha Hadid has become one of the most successful, recognized and prolific architects working today. In 2004, she won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered by many to be the discipline's highest honor. Her face has become familiar to millions on the pages of fashion magazines as well as on those of the more specialized publications on architecture.
This recognition is not insignificant. It means that she can sell herself and thus her work: her signature on a building plan will raise its profile, the client's prestige and ability to sell or rent the apartments or office space she has created. This status in turn has allowed her to obtain many commissions. Now what was once a small atelier hidden away in an obscure corner of London has become a sprawling complex of studios, a design factory employing several hundred employees.
More and more, Hadid relies on the immense possibilities opened up by the computer and on her collaboration with Patrik Schumacher and her most trusted designers, and more and more her buildings have developed a signature.
In some instances, this is literally the case. One might identify in some of her works of the last decade the letter Z, which one could also read as a logical development of the snakes slithering through some of the earlier forms, here becoming a more tightly bundled way of defining space within confined circumstances. At both the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome (1998-2009), known as MAXXI, and the BMW Plant in Leipzig (2001-2005), the serpentine shape meanders through constraints.
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This article is excerpted from Zaha Hadid: Complete Works by Zaha Hadid, copyright © 2009, with permission of the publisher, Rizzoli.
Hadid's angular design of the Fire Station for the Vitra Design Museum campus creates tension with the use of a cantilevered concrete form supported by thin steel columns.
Photo: Christian Richters
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Zaha Hadid designed the three-building Spittelau Viaduct housing complex, part of an urban revitalization project for central Vienna, Austria.
Photo: Margherita Spiluttini
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