As the world mourns the demise of Zaha Hadid, the greatest female architect of our time, Asian Property Review honours her by remembering her achievements including some of her most iconic projects in Asia.
Words by Isabelle Pinto | Photography by various
On the 31st of March, shock and gloom filled the architectural arena as it faced the loss of one of its most iconic contenders in architectural history. At a mere age of 65, world-renowned Britain-based architect, Zaha Hadid breathed her last and passed on from this world after a sudden heart attack while being treated for bronchitis.
As one of the top architects in the industry similar to the likes of starchitects Frank Gehry and Ole Scheeren, the architectural genius is not only well-known for her innovative and iconic architectural works but is also highly revered for being one of the very few women who dared to set foot in this male-dominated profession, and emerged victorious in the field. Besides being a woman, she also breaks all conceptions as an Iraqi-born Arab as well as Muslim, and therefore, had to face various prejudices.
Born in Baghdad in 1950, Zaha went on to pursue her studies at London’s Architectural Association where she graduated in 1977. She then joined her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis at OMA, after which she moved on to set up her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects in 1979.[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]
Known to be a tenacious and fearless woman who pushed through various hurdles to reach to the top, her designs themselves speak volumes of her boldness. Visionary and radical, they defied conventions and boundaries, rising to become icons in the architectural landscape. They are especially known for their futuristic appeal boasting unique shapes and curves, thus earning her the well-distinguished title as “Queen of the Curve”.
Some of her iconic works in Asia include the Guangzhou Opera House in China. Designed in the shape of twin boulders and also likened to “pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion” by Zaha herself, the building was cleverly fashioned so that it blends in well with its riverside setting. Although clearly inspired by nature, Zaha added in a futuristic touch to the design by incorporating glass which folds and flows throughout the building and allows light in, thus creating a rather captivating structure against Guangzhou’s skyline
Her Galaxy Soho design – a retail, office and entertainment space-in Beijing is a rather space-age looking structure which consists of four domes seamlessly connected to one another through bridges and platforms flowing around a central canyon. This creates a number of internal open spaces designed to reflect traditional Chinese courtyards.
Zaha’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza in South Korea, on the other hand, features a stunning shapely design and striking aluminium façade made up of 45,000 panels. Boasting hi-tech construction methods, the building is considered one of the most innovative structures in South Korea. The aluminium panels covering its entire façade come in various shapes and curvatures made possible through the use of advanced 3-dimensional digital construction services. The backlit façade is also scattered with minute perforations allowing it to take on a twinkling “pixilation” effect when lit up at night.
Next in line is the Jockey Club Innovation Tower in Hong Kong. Serving the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design and the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation, the brilliant cutting-edge design of the building definitely mirrors its purpose. Going against conventional tower forms, its unique scheme effortlessly stands out with flowing forms visually uniting its concrete podium and louvred tower.
A myriad of awards
Due to Zaha’s enormous contributions to the world of architecture, she has proudly earned numerous awards and accolades to her name. In 2004, she was the first woman – as well as first Muslim – to be awarded the highly-acclaimed Pritzker Prize, which is equivalent to the Noble Prize in architecture. She was also the first woman to receive the RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal this year in her own right. Both these awards are two of architecture’s highest global awards.
A mixture of sheer immense talent, bold determination and a visionary mind, Zaha Hadid was indeed a powerful force to reckon with in the industry, and her legacy will live on for generations to come through her numerous architectural masterpieces scattered throughout the world. On top of that, her designs in furniture, sportscars, and superyachts, amongst others, have also not gone unnoticed.
To this end, we wish Zaha a great farewell and we thank her for being such a magnificent inspiration to all![/ihc-hide-content]