Learning From The Master : Zaha Hadid

The lecture started with the introduction of Zaha Hadid’s journey as an architect that divided into four decades:

1. expedients (1980 – 1989): the forming process of her style and early manifesto from her work sand past experience
2. Alchemy (1990 – 1999 & 2000 – 2009):the development process, transformation, and combination of her early works
3. Experiments (2010 – 2019). The lecture discussed her manifestos and works throughout the years, including the controversies

After graduated from AA and worked at OMA, she started her own firm ZHA (Zaha Hadid Architects). In the first the decade, Zaha’s earlier works mostly came from her paintings. It clearly shows the influence of deconstructivism. Her style of painting had a similarity with a Russian Painter Kazimir Malevich, which was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the avant-garde Suprematist Movement. At this stage, only 2 projects were built, while most of her other projects were competition entry (unrealised). The two early built projects were IBA Housing at Berlin and Monsoon Sapporo.

In the second decade (1990 – 1999) the development of her work and manifestos were highly influenced by the works of Dadaism, particularly from Duchamp. She was interested in the idea of fragments, the blend between outside-inside, how architecture transcends through three-dimensional geometry and blend through space and form. One project that had been projected these ideas, such as Rosenthal Center For Contemporary Art, which tried to transmit the same hierarchy between the floor level and the front street on the grid.

She had a new approach in the third decade. She designs the building with parametric methods. Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving, in 1972, to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, so she was familiar with the concept of algorithmic and she could translate it into the computational equipment support. Patrick Schumacher joined ZHA and became a partner in 2002. Patrick had helped Hadid a lot, in realised the data.

Parametricism, with the help of the computational program, is able to make a more fluid and complex form. It provides the support from the beginning to the end, from the 3D modelling design to the construction process. She could make a fluid geometric form that integrates with space, and it seems possible to realise everything that she wants.

This approach can be seen from the works, such as Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Wangjing Soho, the incredible Messner Mountain Museum Corones, and the great rejected design of Tokyo Olimpic Stadium. These buildings have already built and there are still a lot of other building as well. Zaha is known for her innovative approach to design. She was a pioneer of parametricism, and an icon of neo-futurism, with a formidable personality. She was the first female architect that achieve the Pritzker Prize. Her vision and legacy would open a new discoveries, possibilities, and inspiration to the future architects.