Architecture is a powerful thing. Its impact goes far beyond mere shelter or protection from the elements. It has the ability to shape lives and influence the very way in which people live.
Dame Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi born British architect understood this better than most. Born in 1950, Hadid “liberated architectural geometry with the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evokes the chaos and flux of modern life.”
Hadid pioneered ‘parametricism’ and is hailed as an icon of neo-futurism. She was the first Arab woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize and was awarded the Stirling Prize as well as a RIBA Gold Medal. She died on March the 31st 2016 after suffering a heart attack.
While Hadid might be gone, her work lives on. During her lifetime, Hadid completed numerous projects such as the ground-breaking aquatic centre for the London 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in America and the Guangzhou Opera House in China. At the time of her death, many more architectural wonders were in the pipeline and will hopefully still be brought to fruition courtesy of her architectural firm which has picked up where she left off.
The following are just a few of her most notable projects:
London Aquatics Centre:
This facility was built alongside the water polo arena and opposite the Olympic stadium on the opposite bank of the Waterworks River. The structure features a 1000sqm wave-like roof which was inspired by the Dollan Aqua Centre in Scotland. The complex features a 50m competition pool, a 25m competition diving pool and 50m warm-up pool and has been hailed as a “masterpiece” of modern architecture.
The Riverside Museum:
Situated on the banks of the Clyde River in Glasgow, Scotland, the Riverside Museum is arguably one of Hadid’s most beautiful British buildings. The entire building creates an impression of motion and movement and clearly draws inspiration from the nearby river. Housed within the museum is an impressive collection of transport-related artefacts.
The Heydar Aliyev Centre:
My personal favourite, this building is located in Azerbaijan. Named after one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent leaders, the centre houses a conference hall, a gallery and museum and plays an important role in the intellectual life of the city. It is noted for its flowing, curved style and distinct lack of sharp angles which creates an overall impression of seamlessness.
Guangzhou Opera House:
Opera houses have long represented an opportunity to make a statement. The Guangzhou Opera House is no different. Akin to “great facets of crystalline rock” this structure seemingly rises directly out of its surroundings. The building is further characterised by the prolific use of sharp angles, glass, steel and concrete which encompass a rippling interior. Unsurprisingly, a lot of thought went into the acoustic design which has been hailed as an unparalleled success.
Another favourite of mine, this eye-catching structure plays host to a hybrid funicular railway. There are four stations on the line of which the Hungerburgbahn is arguably the most spectacular. Soft yet solid, this structure looks like it has been poured into a mould and left to set. Its glossy veneer belies its highly technical design which can only put a smile on the face of all those who are lucky enough to use it.