Sunday, January 24, 2021 | ePaper

Zaha Hadid: Queen of the Curve

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Maruf Zakaria :
Dream and architecture are very connected with each other. Everyone wants to make their dream home. Architects use to convey their dream and try to make with more aesthetics and confined way. In that region of architecture, one of leading pioneer was Zaha Hadid who makes a new definition of contemporary architecture; dynamism of architecture, natural pattern and origami was the attraction of her design consideration. And her concept about any specific project shows the personality and bold image. Her thinking was far different from any other architect.
Zaha Hadid looked to nature to design building with consideration of cellular geometry, transparency, lightness, fluidity and dynamic functional aspect by skilful use of a variety of materials (glass, plastic, titanium plates, steel). The project, which was never built, stands out for the drawings and paintings the architect produced, revealing her exceptional creativity, the thoroughness of her research and her desire to measure herself against spatial limitations and go beyond them, moving away from the classic schemes. In addition to this creative, interdisciplinary aspect, Hadid stands out for her use of advanced technologies, making her an outstanding representative of modern deconstructivism in architecture. She makes the built form into the abstract by breaking old odds of structure system with the help of new technologies.She was renowned for her disregard for dull functionality and penchant for experimentation. The architect would not compromise her concepts or designs for practical constraints or technology. Instead, her swooping, curved, futuristic buildings tended to be structurally intricate. Hadid says, “Architecture is how the person places him/herself in the space. Fashion is about how you place the object on the person.”
Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) was born in Baghdad, Iraq and commenced her college studies at the American University in Beirut in the field of mathematics.
She moved to London in 1972 to study architecture at the Architectural Association and upon graduation in 1977, she joined the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). She also taught at the Architectural Association (AA) with OMA collaborators Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis. Her father, Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid, was a wealthy industrialist from Mosul. The group was a significant political organization in the 1930s and 1940s. He was the co-founder of the National Democratic Party in Iraq and served as Minister of Finance.  Her mother, Wajiha al-Sabunji, was an artist from Mosul. Hadid once mentioned in an interview how her early childhood trips to the ancient Sumerian cities in southern Iraq sparked her interest in architecture. In the 1960s, Hadid attended boarding schools in England and Switzerland.
She began her own practice in London in 1980 and won the prestigious competition for the Hong Kong Peak Club, a leisure and recreational center in 1983. Painting and drawing, especially in her early period, are important techniques of investigation for her design work. Ever since her 1983 retrospective exhibition at the AA in London, her architecture has been shown in exhibitions worldwide and many of her works are held in important museum collections. Known as an architect who consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design, her work experiments with new spatial concepts intensifying existing urban landscapes and encompassing all fields of design, from the urban scale to interiors and furniture.To face the real world challenges, Zaha Hadid opened her own office in 1980. Initially it was not a very welcoming experience and for many years her designs faced rejection for being too impractical and unrealistic. Hadid, being a young architect and new to this field felt so dejected that she once thought about giving the profession up in 1950. London, her embraced homeland, gave her the biggest rejection of time. But the toughness, consistency and stiff intellectualism did not let her run away and eventually she emerged as a notable figure in the field of architecture. First major project of Zaha Hadid was constructed in 1993-1994 in Germany. The unique feature about this project was its numerous irregular angles.
“You don’t always have to show art in what's called a white box; you can have a kind of complexity within an exhibit which actually respects the art as well. This how she tries to make connection with art and architecture.”
Designs of Hadid in 1970s and 1980s reflected an intense understanding of 20th century. She draws her inspiration majorly from nature, its meandering forms, flow landscapes and other physical features. She explored new dimensions of architecture and pushed its boundaries to a much widened context. Her international stardom began when her design for Cincinnati, Ohio’s new centre for Contemporary Art was selected and built, earning worldwide acclaim. She has won a number of competitions with first prize in succession but for a peculiar period of time her achievements in such competitions remained confined to small projects. Some of the major exhibitions of her work comprise of Retrospective at the Architectural Association, London (1983), Grand Central Station New York (1995), ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2000) and Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli (Turin), Italy (2001).From urban landscapes to interiors and furniture designs, Zaha Hadid covers up every field of design.  There was a time when she secured the position of an architect whose work never made it to construction but today she is the architect who is unstoppable from constructing all sorts of buildings addressing a variety of functions and programs. Her office comprises of 400 staff and caters more than 900 projects in about 44 countries. By pursing new idea and theme she believes in “I have always appreciated those who dare to experiment with materials and proportions.”
Throughout her career, Zaha Hadid faced opposition and criticism due to her radical and out of box designs but another major element was her gender. A lot of hardships were thrown along her way because this world of leading male architects was not at all ready to accept this super talented woman. As she herself says, “For a woman to go out alone in architecture is still very, very hard. It’s still a man’s world.” Hadid’s outstanding contribution to the architectural profession continues to be acknowledged by the world’s most respected institutions including the Forbes List of the World’s Most Powerful Women and the Japan Art Association presenting her with the ‘Praemium Imperiale.’ In 2010 and 2011, her designs were awarded the Stirling Prize, one of architecture’s highest accolades, by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Other awards include UNESCO naming Hadid as an ‘Artist for Peace,’ the Republic of France honouring Hadid with the ‘Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres,’ TIME magazine included her in their list of the '100 Most Influential People in the World' and in 2012, Zaha Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
Zaha’s style of is very abstract and uses curves and bends and different sizing of structures to play with light and shadow play. Her work is very similar to the work of Frank Gehry. It is very beautiful and functional and takes a lot of hard work and time to design, build and finish. Zaha’s buildings are some of the most modern pieces of work in this day and age and are very fascinating to look at.she is known as the  ‘Queen of Curve.’ She was the first women who wins Pritzker Prize which is known as the Nobel for architecture. She always said, “There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” in her life time, she worth his word by designing multi angular dynamic built form. n

(Writer is a fresh graduate in
architecture)

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