Zaha's Pivotal Moment To Digital Age

We have all heard about the devastated news yesterday, for a second I thought it was April fools. 

Since the first time I studied architecture, I wasn't really a big fan of her work. Fancy geometries, double curved surfaces, twisted lines, and many other in result to unnecessary complexity. I visited Guangzhou Opera House months after the project finished and looking at the finished product confirms my skepticism. It seems like her body of work reflects merely on her altruistic fetishism of form.

I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

 

From Fragmentation to Fluidity

Between Cincinnati's CAC to Rome's MAXXI

I didn't understand the context and the idea that she's trying to pursue. At the AA day, the critics were blown away by her drawings because an architecture intent has never been presented as such before. With The Peak competition, the proposal is trying to capture movement and seeming instability through fragmentation of building parts. And her fascination to understand the potential of fluid spaces through the exploration of fabric and network. There is though a common theme across since the very beginning, building as landscape. 

 
Fragmentation can be philosophical, too. It can be systematic and not merely chaotic or accidental. This can be seen in some of Malevich’s earlier paintings. Or, even if it is chaotic, it can reflect an existentialist edge, a risky form of play with disintegration as a prelude or even an impetus to a higher re-formation. As long as forms remain whole, unified, coherent, they cannot be transformed. Only when established forms are broken up are they susceptible to change.
— https://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/zaha-hadids-drawings-2/
Fragments | The Peak Proposal

Fragments | The Peak Proposal

Fabric & Network | Onenorth Masterplan

Fabric & Network | Onenorth Masterplan

This system of drawing led to new ideas, such as layering drawings over one another – like a form of reverse archaeology – which led to literal translations in the buildings. Vitra Fire Station (1983) in Weil am Rhein, Germany, was key – the drawing became the project, when the lines became volumes.

It took me 20 years to convince people to draw everything in three dimensions, with an army of people trying to draw the most difficult perspectives. Now everyone does 3D on the computer, but I think we have lost some transparency in the process. Through painting and drawing, we can discover so much more than anticipated. It might take 10 years for a 2D sketch to evolve into a workable space, and into a building, but these are the journeys that I think are the most exciting, as they are not predictable.
— https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/article/zaha-hadid-ra-on-the-influence-of
 

Contemporary Arts Center / Cincinnati | OH US

v

MAXXI / Rome | IT

 

Zaha Hadid has a very broad range of building portfolio, a very fruitful 40+ years of career. As we all notice the firm departs from deconstructivism to parametricism. However, I am interested in her work at the end of 1990s when it became the pivotal moment for ZHA in terms of design aesthetic, Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinatti, and MAXXI in Rome.  

Painting for CAC in Cincinnati - Notice the distorted perspective effect as media of formal exercise.

Painting for CAC in Cincinnati - Notice the distorted perspective effect as media of formal exercise.

Painting for MAXXI in Rome - Notice the fluid lines and surfaces that meander through and weaved together.

Painting for MAXXI in Rome - Notice the fluid lines and surfaces that meander through and weaved together.

 

Exterior

CAC stacked boxes exterior.

CAC stacked boxes exterior.

MAXXI exterior carries the same massive and solid feeling.

MAXXI exterior carries the same massive and solid feeling.

Both projects are located in a dense urban setting. Yes, ZHA's projects are usually known for being stand out of its context and neglecting its surrounding. However, these two particular projects are well integrated into the urban fabric. 

 

CAC merges as part of the typical gridded US urban block.

 

More varied block shape in Rome urban setting allows more dynamic integration towards the context.

 

Interior

Both museums employs almost similar material palette but totally different spatial experience.

CAC is about vertical relationship of volumes and our sequential experience as we move up through the void space. 

MAXXI rather, with more fluid space allows us to meander diagonally inside and in between the gallery spaces. With opportunity to have larger atrium, the space allows the circulation to interweaves and transfer people from one level to another.

Sometimes the gallery space shoots out and you're suddenly hovering over the entry plaza of the building.

Sometimes the gallery space shoots out and you're suddenly hovering over the entry plaza of the building.

 

Trajectory to The Digital Space

Malevich and Suprematist movement, and Derrida's fragmentation to start off.

Fluidity of fabric and network to set trajectory to further explore three dimensional design process through digital technology.

Parametricism, the outcome of a decade of exploration on the potential of digital technology with Patrik Schumacher.

 

Zaha Hadid is no doubt one of the most important profile in our contemporary society. Her talent has excel the field of architecture itself, academia, fashion, product design, along with digital technology, and digital fabrication. Beyond, her background and profile has proven to the world as a female architect and a muslim. Both combined, plus the pro-men context of post-WW II, she is indeed a very strong and inspiring individual.

Her 40 years career was very fruitful but sadly it was too short.

RESPECT!

Fragmentation sets trajectory of Zaha's career.

Fragmentation sets trajectory of Zaha's career.

Fluidity as trajectory to the digital space.

Fluidity as trajectory to the digital space.

#RIPZahaHadid