There are only three ‘global brand’ architects, according to Paul Finch (Architects Review and Architects Journal): Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. The difference with MIPIM UK’s closing keynote speaker: her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects, has created far more than just a few landmark projects. She showcased a dazzling quality and quantity of recent projects, from Baku to Saudi Arabia and from Milan to China. And as Finch pointed out, they are often “swooping, curved, apparently weightless. But not always curved!” Here is a selection of the projects Hadid when on to display.
For the Heydar Aliyev Centre, in Baku, Azerbaijan: “all interiors were done locally”, said Hadid…
“When we did this Seoul project” (the Dongdaemun Design Plaza), said Hadid, “everyone was against it: they’ve now had over 8 million visitors.”
The Spittelau Viaducts Vienna project was then shown; just one an example of how “collision and shifting of circulation allows you to create an interesting interior,” said Hadid. She added that “ideas from creative projects are starting to feed back into more commercial ones” — promising news for many present at MIPIM UK — and that the practice is also consulted on urban planning projects, rather than just for individual buildings. “We sometimes have to make projections as to how the city would evolve,” said Hadid. This was the case for Madrid, Bilbao and Istanbul, to name just a few examples.
Hadid then showed Galaxy Soho, one of several ‘Soho’ projects in China. “The lower space is retail, the upper stratas are residential,” said Hadid. “25,000 people came to the opening night. People order a space on an app, or something!” she joked.
Next up was the Central Bank of Iraq, a project close to Hadid’s heart, located in her country of origin…
Last bust not least, 520 West 28th Street, Hadid’s latest project, in New York. This residential building is based on a principle of interlocking scissor shapes, or chevrons.
For closing comments, Finch asked Hadid if she was coming round to towers, having been more focused on horizontal forms previously. “There was a move to move out of the city,” said Hadid; “now there’s one to move back in to the city.” And density, of course, means you have to go up. Furthermore, she added, “I’m quite critical of high-density low rise in London. They don’t have to all be the same.”
In short, said Finch to Hadid, the “theory of art and architecture have been extraordinarily put into practice by you.” We couldn’t agree more!
Image source: http://www.zaha-hadid.com/