Queen of the Loop and Curl

in-late-2012-hadid-unveiled-plans-for-the-zany-beko-building-in-downtown-belgrade-its-slated-to-be-a-city-center-with-residential-retail-and-commercial-spaceMany people have asked that I write a blog entry about Zaha Hadid (my father and paramour included), the Iraqi, London based architect who has taken the world of contemporary structure design by storm.  My father made this claim about Hadid’s work, “Zaha speaks a new architectural language that brings beauty and life to a space. She has the ability to push contemporary engineering and construction technology to the limit. I think she is more talented than Koolhaas or Calatrava.  Fortunately, she isn’t overly decorative like Gehry.  She has a keen sense of neighborhood and culture, which is the key to posterity.”


Hadid was the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004.  She designed the aquatics center for the 2012 London Olympic Games, a Saudi train station, a city center in Belgrade, a condominium along the High Line in Manhattan, a distinct brand of circle yachts that are now on the market, a spaceship-like mansion for Naomi Campbell and her Russian billionaire boyfriend, a sports stadium in Qatar, a bridge pavilion in Spain, and a culture and arts center in Changsha, China, among other fabulous, splashy undertakings.


What I find most interesting about her stockpile of work, are several repeated characteristics:  One of them being the serpentine nature of many of her projects.  There is a layering, and coiling/uncoiling in the concrete facades; these curving forms supercede other architect’s work by way of re-imagining the feminine curves, the twisting and turning, adding a splash of LSD along the way.  I also admire the velocity and movement in the work.  The buildings are not fixed, they appear to be in transit along with the rest of us. This feature makes her work highly dynamic, she captures a fraction of a second and cements it in stone.  There was a brutalism and rigidity in her earlier work, but this is no longer the case.  Hadid is one who changes with the times, morphs, and continually takes on bigger challenges that would seem insurmountable to most. She has a team of several hundred staff members in her London offices, however she is the mastermind and brilliance behind it all, the original.


It is no wonder that she is admired by so many, hated too, but mostly loved. She doesn’t need everyone to like her, people that get her work will get it. She wants to express her vision, she believes in it, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. The rest falls into place.


Men are governed by lines of intellect – women: by curves of emotion.
James Joyce


Courtesy of The Guardian, Fast Code Design, The Business Insider, Tuvie