Zaha Hadid, one of most celebrated architects of the 21st century, recently passed away due to heart failure. During her lifetime, she designed scores of world famous buildings and structures, which include bridges, offices, and sports centers. Her loss will certainly be felt in the world of design and architecture.
As a human being, Zaha was fierce and strong-willed. She constantly challenged the status-quo and that reflected in the buildings she designed. All her creations pushed the boundary for what was acceptable and what was traditional.
For her work, she won the prestigious Pritzker Prize, making her the first ever woman to be honored with this highest award for architects. Although she was born in Iraq, her reach and influence over the developed world was such that she was anointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012.
Although each of her designs is a noteworthy achievement, we’ve picked 5 that are our personal favorites:
Guangzhou Opera House
Hadid’s “double pebble” won her the International Architecture Competition in 2002. The Guardian called it the “world’s most spectacular opera house”. Located near a water body, the design perfectly compliments the natural setting, representing two pebbles that got washed smooth by years of contact with the water.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery
he Sackler is one Hadid’s special projects. Unlike other buildings to her name that are outrightly post-modern, this structure reflects a mixture of the old and the new.
The Gallery is built over a former gunpowder store that is over 200 years old. “Zaha Hadid Architects renovated the old brick building to create new gallery spaces, then added a curving cafe and events space that extends from one side,” says Dezeen magazine.
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center
Located in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, the cultural centre is one of the highlights of the city. This net-modern, shockingly urbane building is a sight to behold, especially since the local architecture is heavily influenced by the designs of the Soviet era.
With its undulating curves, the building looks more like it’s made out of silk, rather than concrete. The design breaks through the rigid Soviet architecture and represents the sensibilities of Azeri culture. Predictably this impressive structure won Zaha the Design of the Year Award by London’s Design Museum.
London Aquatics Centre
It’s not easy making a mark on the London skyline given that it’s scattered with dozens of world renowned architectural masterpieces. And yet, Hadid managed to achieve the impossible, once again.
Built for the 2012 London Olympics, this stadium has such fluidity in its design that it almost looks like water, flowing and floating ethereally. “It’s like swimming in a spaceship,” said an excited kid who visited the arena for the first time. We couldn’t find a statement that did more justice to the place.
Phaeno Science Center
he Science Centre located in Wolfsburg, Germany, is one of the most astonishing pieces of architecture in the world today. The complicated design was nothing short of a technical miracle when it was actually cast and finally constructed.
“Burg or a berg? Stronghold or floating mass? Hadid’s Phaeno Science Centre is open to interpretation,” says The Architectural Review, and that’s the crux of the building.
Zaha Hadid’s demise is one of the biggest losses of the decade. The world of architecture will miss her dearly but her legacy and her work survive to inspire generations to come.
Image Courtesy: oxforddesignstudio, zaha-hadid.com