March 31st 2016 saw the untimely departure of Zaha Hadid. Named ‘queen of curves’ for the frequent use of such feature in her works, the British Iraqi architect and designer created an architecture empire around the world with the use of an elegant, sharp and futuristic style. For the past twenty years, Hadid has been one of the most highly valued archistar in the world. She was the first Arab woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004) and the Stirling Prize in both 2010 and 2011, and the first woman to be awarded with the RIBA Gold Metal (2015). The Italian Eye takes you on a journey around the world to admire her most stunning creations.
HEYDAR ALIYEV CULTURAL CENTRE, BAKU, AZERBAJAN (2012)
Built between 2007 and 2012, this spacious, elegant and innovative complex has provided Hadid with the London Museum Design of the Year prize (2014). The center was named after the ex Azeri president Heydar Aliyev and contains three auditoriums, a library and a museum. It plays a central role in the intellectual life of the city and is a symbol of the renovation of Baku.
SHEIKH ZAYED BRIDGE, ABU DHABI (2010)
This bridge was named after the famous Emirati sheikh and architect Zayed, and it extends for 842 metres over the channel Maqtah. Its structure reminds of the dunes of the desert, and it alternates the color white during the day and a multicolor sequence at night, standing out in the sky in a sharp but graceful way.
LONDON AQUATICS CENTRE, STRATFORD (2011)
Situated in east London, this sports structure was one of the main headquarters of the Olympics and Paraolympics of London 2012, and is still used for swimming events. It contains two 50-metre pools and a 25-metre swimming pool for diving. The large windows let the natural light flood in, while the oval artificial ones on the ceiling shine in the dark
EVELYN GRACE ACADEMY, LONDON (2008)
The Evelyn Grace Academy is a school located in the area of Brixton, in south London. Structured around a tunnel that crosses it from one side to the other and that serves as a running track, it has got a Z-shape which marks it as different from the other buildings around it. 2008 was both the year when it was completed and the moment when Hadid felt that she was being officially recognised in the UK.
VITRA FIRE STATION, WEIL AM RHEIN, GERMANY (1994)
This station was Hadid’s first project and hence it offers a structure and colours very diverse from those of her following works. It was conceived as part of the industrial buildings of the area, but some architecture critics have noted that it “defines, rather than occupies space”. Today it is used as a cultural center for events.
HUNGERBURGBAHN STATIONS, INNSBRUCK (2007)
In contrast with the traditional aspect of the town of Innnsbruck, Hungerburgbahn station stands out for its unusual, modern aspect. The station is structured around four sections that mimic the shape of the Alps and their natural ice formations.
PHAENO SCIENCE CENTRE, WOLFSBURG (2005)
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm, Saturday, Sunday and national holidays 10 am – 6 pm, shut on Monday, 24.12, 31.12. During school holidays in Low Saxony 10 am – 6 pm.
According to Hadid, this scientific center brings together the various elements of her entire work. Some of these include curves, protrusions and sharp corners. For some critics, the building’s main purpose is that of exploring the perception of space in the same way as in the Vitra Fire Station.
RIVERSIDE MUSEUM, GLASGOW (2011)
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Friday, Sunday 11 am – 17 pm.
In 2013, the Riverside Museum won the European Museum of the Year Award. Located on the docks of the Scottish town, it is also called “Glasgow’s Guggenheim” for its steel structure that overlooks the river Clyde. The space of exhibition extends for 7000 square meters, while the façade is 36 meters high and ends with a zinc, zig zag-shaped roof.
BRIDGE PAVILION, ZARAGOZA (2008)
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10 am – 2 pm, 5 pm – 9 pm. Guided visits: Friday 10 am – 5 pm. Free entry.
Inspired by water themes, this was the first bridge that Hadid created. Not only does it cross the river Ebro for the pedestrians, but it also works as an exhibition area. The structure connects the area of La Almozara with that of the Expo that was held in Zaragoza in 2008.
MAXXI – NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE 21ST CENTURY ARTS, ROME (2010)
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 7 pm, Saturday 11 am – 10 pm, Sunday 11am – 7 pm.
The MAXXI is located in the Flaminio area of Rome, next to the cathedral of the Saint Cross and the Via Flaminia. The building is made of a selection of oblong tubes that overlap and intersect, reminding of a huge means of transport. Inside the museum there are two permanent collections that gradually grow through acquisitions, commissions and donations.
CMA CGM TOWER, MARSEILLE (2010)
This 147 meters high skyscraper is located in the urban centre Euromediterranée, the main business area of Marseille. It can host up to 2200 employees, previously spread in more than seven sites, and it has 33 floors and 20 lifts. The purpose of the Tower is that of interacting and blending in with the other buildings of the city, such as the Castle d’If and the cathedral of Notre-Dame de la Garde.
CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE ROSENTHAL, CINCINNATI (2003)
Opening hours: Saturday – Monday 10 am – 4 pm, shut on Tuesday, Wednesday – Friday 10 am – 9 pm
The first building in Cincinnati designed by a woman, this center has the purpose of reaffirming the urban values of its city and establishing an interaction with the building itself. Inside, the center does not offer a permanent collection, but it constantly displays new products in the fields of sculpture, photography, painting, architecture and communication, involving both adults and children.
GALAXY SOHO, BEIJING (2012)
This futuristic structure is shoed by four domes linked together by a mix of bridges and platforms that are arranged around a central gorge. Its interiors are built according to the traditional methods of the Chinese architecture (although it has been criticised by some locals). It is mainly used for offices and as an entertainment space for events.
GUANGZHOU OPERA HOUSE, GUANGZHOU, CHINA (2010)
Built between 2005 and 2010, this theatre has a unique structure made of granite, glass and steel that has been designed to blend in with the nearby river Zhujiang. Hadid has defined it as “pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion”.
WANGJING SOHO, BEIJING (2014)
The complex is made by three asymmetrical skyscrapers and is located in the suburbs of Beijing, between the city centre and the airport. According to Hadid, it symbolises a “welcome and a farewell to Beijing” due to its position. The external metallic layers give a sense of union and volume to the complex. Inside are contained offices and retailers.