- Zaha Hadid
BiographyBorn in Baghdad and a naturalized British citizen, Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) is one of the best-known figures in contemporary architecture for her attractive, high impact, versatile and evocative style.
After graduating in mathematics in Beirut in the 1970s, she studied architecture in London and, in 1980, opened her own firm in the British capital. She first gained international recognition in 1983 when she won the competition for The Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong.
The project was never implemented, but the project’s drawings stand out in particular, highlighting (also through painting) her unconventional creativity, combined with extensive research and her desire to measure herself against spatial limitations and transcend them, deviating from classic schemes.
This particular creative approach, which became Zaha Hadid’s hallmark in the following decades, has resulted in numerous retrospective exhibitions of her architectural projects (including sketches, paintings and animations) being hosted in major contemporary art museums, including MOMA, the Guggenheim and the Deutsches Architektur Museum.
In addition to this creative and interdisciplinary aspect, Hadid is also known for using advanced technology, which makes her a leading exponent of modern deconstructivism in the field of architecture.
With 40 years of activity and nearly one thousand projects worldwide, her architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) sets the benchmark in contemporary architecture, with impressive works that simultaneously convey lightness, fluidity and transparency, also thanks to the masterful use of different materials (glass, plastic, titanium sheets and steel).
Some of her many works include the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck (2002); the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003); the Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Copenhagen (2005); the MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009); and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku (2012).
She has won many international awards, including the Pritzker Prize (2004), awarded to a woman for the first time; the Design of the Year 2014 award for the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2016).
In areas other than construction, demonstrating a creativity that embraces many fields of design and interior design, the Lacoste shoe collections (2008) and the works for Louis Vuitton and Swarovski are also worthy of note. Some of the exhibitions dedicated to her work include the one at the Winter Palace of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (2015) and the exhibition L’Italia by Zaha Hadid at MAXXI in Rome (2017), which highlights the close relationship between Italy and the designer.
The latest projects designed by the Zaha Hadid Architets architecture firm are the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, and the new international airport in Beijing, both opened in 2019.
The Al Janoub Stadium, with a capacity of 40,000 seats, is the second stadium to be completed among the eight planned, in preparation for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar. Clearly inspired by typical boats called Dau, traditional Arab sailboats with one or more triangular sails, the stadium is a highly iconic facility and very controversial also for reasons not directly related to architectural issues.
From a constructive point of view, in addition to the distinctive “post-modern and neo-futurist” shape, it is important to mention the “the possibility of closing the roof completely, with a tensile structure designed by Schlaich Bergermann Partner that makes it possible to air condition the field and the bleachers in the hot summer months” (S. Peluso, Domus).
Beijing’s new international airport is located in the Daxing district, 46 kilometers from the city center. The project dates back to 2014 and the new facility is perfectly integrated into the dense local transport network, which will significantly reduce traffic congestion at Beijing Capital International Airport.
Zaha Hadid selected works and projects
- Bora Residentail Tower, Città del Messico (Messico), 2021 (previsto)
- Bee'ah Headquarters, Sharjah (UAE), 2020 (previsto)
- Daxing International Airport, Pechino (Cina), 2019
- Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah (Qatar), 2019
- Aljada Central Hub, Sharjah (UAE), 2018
- Capital Hill Residence, Mosca (Russia), 2018
- Torre Generali, Milano (Italia), 2017
- Dominion Office Building, Mosca (Russia), 2015
- Issam Fares Institute, Beirut (Libano), 2014
- Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seul (Corea del Sud), 2014
- Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku (Azerbaijan), 2012
- New National Stadium, Tokyo (Giappone)
- Soho Peaks, Pechino (Cina), 2014
- Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Londra (Regno Unito), 2013
- Pierrevives, Montpellier (Francia), 2012
- The Arum Shell, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venezia (Italia), 2012
- London Aquatics Centre, Londra (Regno Unito), 2011
- Mobile Art Chanel Contemporary Art Container, sedi varie, 2008-2010
- Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport, Glasgow (Regno Unito), 2011
- Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi (UAE), 2010
- MAXXI - Museum of XXI Century Arts, Roma (Italia), 2009
- Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion, Saragozza (Spagna), 2008
- Neues Stadt-Casino, Basilea (Svizzera), 2006
- Ordrupgaard Museum Extension, Copenhagen (Danimarca), 2005
- Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati (USA), 2003
- BMW Central Building, Leipzig (Germania), 2003
- Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck (Austria), 2002
- Hoenheim-Nord Terminus and Car Park, Strasburgo (Francia), 2001
- Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein (Germania), 1993
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