How Zaha Hadid challenges many established perceptions
I remember growing up and witnessing Zaha Hadid becoming more famous by the day. Then thinking that finally Arab women are starting to shine in a complex society and even internationally against all stereotypes.
She was the first women to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 in a male dominated industry at the time. Her achievements and work are inspiring for all female’s generations to come. With her flowless, bold design and organic form she took a more unique approach than her fellow modern designers. (Mertins, 2006). Her design has a futuristic look and a functional space to give the people unique experience inside and outside those buildings. I personally don’t think that it is only a successful design, but it has much more depth and impact on shaping the cities. It gives a future identity that distinctives the city from any other and improves its urban context. When we remember a city, the first thing that comes to mind is the city’s monuments not the majority of the similar designed residentials. Similar idea has been mentioned in “New Ornaments’ Influence on the Character of Modern Cities” book when described the ornaments effect on cities and how they add symbolic meaning and character to form the modern city. (Elgohary, 2018). The following figure 1 shows Heydar Aliyev centre in Baku, Azerbaijan as it became “the primary building for the nation’s cultural programs” as stated in Zaha Hadid architects’ prescription online.
Figure 1 Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan. From: Zaha Hadid Architects.
Her approach to architectural design has evolved over the years. In her earlier work, she focused on designing the building as a single special monument. However, in her later work, she started to plan the surrounding landscape given its significance in directing the attention to the building itself. She made the buildings look like it was born in this landscape and still attached to it like one piece. Good examples for this are Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre in the UAE as you can see in figure 2, and E.ON Energy Research Department. Aachen, Germany, as you can see in figure 3. (AbdUllah, Bin Said, Ossen, 2013, p.6)
Figure 2: Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre from: Zaha Hadid Architects. From: Zaha Hadid Architects.
Figure 3: E.ON Energy Research Centre, in Aachen, Germany, from: Zaha Hadid Architects.
Overall, Zaha Hadid successfully challenged the perception of Arab women in western societies and became a trail blazer for generations to come of young female architects, especially in the Arab world. Further, her contribution to urban design and landscape was also achieved by challenging the existing approaches and pushing the boundaries whenever it was possible.
- (Mertins, 2006)
Mertins, Detlef, “The Modernity of Zaha Hadid” (2006). Departmental Papers (Architecture). 8. https://repository.upenn.edu/arch_papers/8
- (Elgohary, 2018)
Elgohary, Amr, ‘New Ornaments’ influence on the character of modern cities’ in Catalani, A, et al (eds). Cities’ Identity Through Architecture of Art. 1st Edition. London: Routledge, p. 424.
- (AbdUllah, Bin Said, Ossen, 2013, p.6)
AbdUllah, A.R. Bin Said, I. Ossen, D.R. (2013) ‘Zaha Hadid’s Techniques of Architectural Form-Making’, Open Journal of Architectural Design, 1(1), p 6.
- Figure 1: Zaha Hadid architects (no date a) Heydar Aliyev Centre – Zaha Hadid Architects. Available at: https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/heydar-aliyev-centre/.
- Figure 2: Zaha Hadid architects (no date a) Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre – Zaha Hadid Architects. Available at: https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/abu-dhabi-performing-arts-centre/.
- Figure 3: Zaha Hadid architects (no date a) ON Energy Research Centre – Zaha Hadid Architects. Available at: https://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/e-on-energy-research-centre/.