Listing 19 blog articles for the tag Zaha Hadid.
Not many parts of the world have yet to be touched by the influential hand of Dame Zaha Hadid, but Central America had been one of them … until now. Following her first foray into South America — the proposal for a spine-like condominium in Rio de Janeiro was revealed late last year — the British-Iraqi architect has now ventured further north, unveiling a large, high-density residential master plan for a site in the Mexican city of Monterrey.
Esfera City Center will form a major new addition to the southeast of the country’s third largest city, situated within Huajuco Canyon, a long valley framed by two mountain ranges. The expansive scope of the scheme includes 981 apartments, a gymnasium, multiple swimming pools, a chapel, and a wide variety of public and private outdoor amenity spaces. It constitutes one of the largest housing developments designed by ZHA to date and will be constructed in three phases, with the first slated for completion come 2018.
A slick fly-through video accompanies the newly released renderings, possessing the same achingly cool cinematic style that the firm’s CGI artists have become renowned for over recent years (see the full range of trailers here). The context pulses into life to the beat of Matthew Herbert’s “The Audience”: waves of light emerge from the ground before solidifying to form buildings and the sinuous veins of a 320,000-square-foot public park are traced across the interior of the site. These classic curvilinear features are unmistakably Hadid, drawn like a fluid signature across the landscape.
The design brief for Esfera is notable for its evolution during the course of the project, with Hadid showing an unparalleled ability to influence major clients on large-scale aspects of their development. Mexican developer Citelis originally called for a series of homogenous residential towers surrounded by landscape, conjuring visions of Le Corbusier’s “Plan Voisin,” together with its well-documented urban planning pitfalls. However, ZHA had other ideas: they proposed a low-rise ribbon of interlaced apartment blocks, creating a continuous boundary around the perimeter of the site with a 320,000-square-foot park at its heart.
In a lengthy statement released to the media, 83-year-old Isozaki – one of Japan's leading architects – said he was "shocked" to see the lack of "dynamism" in Zaha Hadid's newest proposal for the 80,000-seat stadium, which was recently redesigned following protests over the original scheme.
Isozaki likened the new proposal to "a turtle waiting for Japan to sink so that it can swim away".
Ouch. Almost as brutal as me, Arata! Somewhat surprising when you consider that the two architects only recently 'collaborated' on the Citylife luxury complex in Milan, Italy.
Read the full story over on Dezeen, along with a plethora of colourful comments from readers...
Image via: Archdaily
Temple Of Timber: Zaha Hadid’s Ode to Cambodia’s Tragic Past Is Filled With Contradiction, Hypocrisy … And Incredible Beauty
The architectural language used for Zaha’s Brisbane debut — entitled Grace on Coronation — is more consistent, to say the least. Each tower is identical, forming a series of gleaming champagne flutes wrapped in spindly white exoskeletons — the architect herself said of the skyscraper’s distinct forms: “the design tapers each structure to minimize their footprint and open the riverfront to the public; creating a vibrant civic space for Toowong within a new riverside park.”
If one was to be cynical (and I have a well-known penchant for cynicism), the idea that the tapering minimizes the buildings’ footprint could be read as a complete misnomer. In fact, the opposite maybe true, in that the buildings are bloated as they rise up — designed to maximize the developer’s return on the upper apartments. The creation of a "vibrant civic space" must also be brought into question, given the incorporation of irregular, grass-topped plinths at ground level. Will these spaces really be utilized in the way ZHA intends, or will they suffer from the same issues besetting almost every Le Corbusier-inspired complex of towers in the park?
History indicates that the public will typically search out specific types of open space that offer enclosure and a distinct sense of place — courtyard cafes, covered arcades, steps in front of libraries and museums, a riverfront coffee shop. It is possible that they can also be convinced to enjoy a break on incidental wedges of manicured parkland, especially in beautiful climates like that of Australia’s eastern coast — but lawns of this kind must be easily accessible from those aforementioned spaces.
On the contrary, the plinths designed by ZHA isolate these green wedges, encircling them with 15-foot walls of pale concrete and restricting access to the park from the street, particularly on the side furthest from the riverfront. Presumably these plinths are designed to conceal car parking, the age-old bane of any urban high-rise design and a necessary evil — nonetheless, the negative impact at street level is undeniable. The firm proposed a similar master plan for residential towers in Bratislava’s Culenova City Center, but in that case the plinths were pushed downwards at the edges to form multiple linkages between the street and public spaces within the development. The proposed plinths in Brisbane do not share this quality — get ready for a warm hike up a series of pristine concrete ramps or steps to reach that hallowed slice of amenity space to enjoy your lunch!
The tower’s cage-like external appearance is reminiscent of another of ZHA’s high-rise residential proposals set for construction imminently, the One Thousand Museum Tower in Miami, Florida. The curves on display exemplify Hadid’s propensity towards the formulaic notion that a sensual form trumps structural function when attempting to sell an image of luxury to prospective tenants. The language that has served her so well on the horizontal is stretched skywards, less concerned with efficient engineering, and more preoccupied with displaying the firm’s signature parametric style on the largest billboard possible — three towers at over twenty-five stories each should do the job nicely (particularly when there are absolutely no existing high-rise blocks anywhere in the vicinity).
Further assessments of the project’s prospective success or failure will rest upon the release of more images — interiors, floor plans, and details of the spaces at plinth level. Regardless of any misgivings about the principles behind the design — particularly those pertaining to the public realm — the fact remains that ZHA are likely to have answered the brief bestowed upon them with customary aplomb.
News: the six buildings shortlisted for this year's Stirling Prize have been announced, including The Shard by Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid's Olympic Aquatics Centre, and Europe's largest public library by Mecanoo.
Birmingham Library - Mecanoo
LSE Student Centre - O'D+T
Irish firm O'Donnell + Tuomey – who has been previously nominated four times but never won the prize – made the shortlist with the red brick student centre completed for the London School of Economics.
Manchester School of Art - FCB
Other nominees include Feilden Clegg Bradley's extension to the Manchester School of Art, which features steel-braced oak staircases, andLiverpool's new Everyman Theatre by Haworth Tompkins, which includes an auditorium built from 25,000 reclaimed bricks.
The Everyman, Liverpool - Haworth Tompkins
The Stirling Prize is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in recognition of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.
The Shard - Renzo Piano
Which is your pick of the bunch this year? Let us know over on facebook.
Assemblage winning proposal, via AAS Architecture
The original contest was run by the RIBA on behalf of the Iraqi authorities, and Assemblage was awarded first place in August 2012, picking up $250,000 in the process. In second place came the sculptural, rock-like forms of Capita Symonds, with ZHA’s proposal trailing in third. One juror described Hadid’s design as “very convoluted,” adding that “Alan Howarth [former architecture minister and member of the jury] was very clear that the design needed to be all about how MPs meet their constituents and how people get together — but her scheme threw everyone apart.”
Assemblage's winning proposal, AAS Architecture
Harsh words indeed – so it is no wonder that Assemblage might feel dazed and confused about how the selection process played out following their victory. The firm had been awarded an overall score of 88% by the jury for their striking design, a juxtaposition of cuboid and cylinder shaped forms linked by a broad avenue. The circular form is comprised of tapered fins, forming an elegant, perforated curve reminiscent of Rome’s iconic Colosseum.
The comparison with a building so synonymous with violence is tragically poignant at a time when the so-called Islamic State is reaking havoc in the north and west of Iraq. That fact has caused many to fundamentally question the political wisdom behind the decision to forge ahead with plans for a $1 billion dollar complex, when a humanitarian crisis looms once again for so many across the country. Should this kind of public project be put on hold in such dire circumstances, or is there a chance the construction of such a building could be viewed as a catalyst for peaceful political dialogue for generations to come? At present, the overriding consensus must surely lie with the former, but the project is being forced through nonetheless.
Assemblage's winning proposal, via AAS Architecture
Aside from the architecture, the biggest criticism of all has pertained to opacity – from the moment Assemblage were announced as winners, the process has been cloaked in secrecy, with discussions behind closed doors leading to a complete turnaround. If you’re wondering why you have reached this stage of the article and still haven’t seen an image of ZHA’s chosen proposal, it’s because the design has never been released publicly … prominent home-born critic Ihsan Fethi complained roundly about this farcical reality in an email sent on behalf of the Iraqi Architects Society:
“I personally tried in vain so many times to even have a quick look at the design with no success. Of course this is contrary to the principle of transparency and it is absolutely unacceptable for us Iraqi architects, or any Iraqi citizen to that matter, to be prevented from seeing what their Parliament would look like. We absolutely have no idea.”
Images via: Architizer
The history of women in architecture, mapped out in a handy infographic - smooth work by Megan Jett of Archdaily! Enjoy...
Guggenheim Bilbao: The birthplace of Starchitecture?
2. Your process is almost as famous as your buildings.
Perhaps the most infamous example of an architect’s design process is one that never actually happened: Frank Gehry made a cameo appearance on The Simpsons, in which his crumpled ball of paper was transformed into the Disney Concert Hall, and has regretted it ever since. In an interview with CNN he ranted: “That's the ****. Everybody thinks I'm going to crumple a paper. Clients come to me and say crumple a piece of paper, we'll give you $100 and then we'll build it.”
In contrast, Daniel Libeskind milks the myths of design conception for all their worth: his sketches, which may or may not have been scrawled on cocktail napkins, have been framed and sold as artworks in their own right. Either way, when your process comes under as much scrutiny as your buildings, you can be confident you are well on your way to architectural stardom.
How Gehry did NOT design the Disney Concert Hall...
3. Imitations of your creations begin to emerge.
Architecture is no stranger to copying: from classicism to, well, neo-classicism, it has long been accepted that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. These days though, some firms are taking it to another level: last year, it emerged that Zaha Hadid’s design for Wangjing SOHO was being unceremoniously replicated in the eastern city of Chongqing.
Satoshi Ohashi, the ZHA project director overseeing the project, speculated that the counterfeiters may have gotten their hands on digital files containing the firm's original plans. This is an ordeal that will be familiar with many a firm in the digital age, but how often does plagiarism merit international headlines? If that is the case with your stolen design, like Dame Hadid, you probably have yourself a spot reserved in the architectural hall of fame.
Zaha's Galaxy Soho... or is it?
4. You have a building designed by you… named after you.
As I reported last year, the generic glass pillars of banality ascending in the Citylife Milano master plan took the term ‘Brand Architecture’ to a whole new level. The developers in question chose to embellish its “outstandingly iconic buildings” (yes, their words) with … the names of the designers themselves.
That’s right: The Hadid Tower, the Libeskind Tower, and the Isozaki Tower are promoted on the company’s website, explicitly linking the architects and their buildings to the executive lifestyle of their prospective tenants.
Just as Brittney Spears and David Beckham have their own lines of perfume and aftershave, it is now apparently permissible to utilize the celebrity of architects to sell buildings as luxury products. Rightly or wrongly, if a developer sticks your name on the label, you can be sure you have made it!
Citylife Milano: Eau De Libeskind... et al
5. You and your buildings are parodied all over the Internet.
The phenomenon of the internet meme will be familiar to anyone who has spent even a modicum of time procrastinating on social networking sites – LOLcats, Philosoraptor, Trollface and Forever Alone are some of the biggest web-based celebrities out there. Architecture, as a niche sector of online interest, is generally not considered to be ‘meme-worthy’… but if you are famous enough, exceptions can be made.
Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry in particular have had their fair share of ‘homages’ go viral, some of which are hilarious, others… well, a little harsh perhaps. But hey, it comes with the territory. Some are positively adorable, like this Libeskind-related image: if one of your buildings was ever coupled with a kitten and shared across the information superhighway, you have surely reached the upper echelons of the industry.
Starchitects + Cats = Meme Heaven
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