Friday, January 8, 2010

Designer of the Month: Zaha Hadid

Before I begin January's Designer of the Month post, I first have a confession to make - I don't particularly like the work of Zaha Hadid. I know, I know, you're probably wondering why I would want to bother spending an entire month writing about a designer who just isn't really my cup of tea. Well, my friends, just because Hadid's architecture and designs are not what I'm drawn to, doesn't mean that they're not worth discussing. And believe me when I tell you that this is some interesting work you're going to be looking at and learning about this month.

Zaha Hadid. Photo courtesy of Steve Forrest/Insight-Visual and the New York Times.

Zaha Hadid is an interesting designer because of the combination of aesthetics inherent in her work - her designs are what I imagine the child of Modernism and Futurism would look like - as well as her unusual approach to architecture through painting. What's more, Hadid is a highly successful, contemporary architect. While she's been practicing architecture since graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, in 1977, Hadid didn't have one of her designs for buildings completed until 1994.[1] This is not to say that Hadid wasn't already a well-known and well-regarded architect before this time; she won many competitions for major projects before ever having anything of hers built. Born in Baghdad in 1950, Hadid grew up at a time of secular, progressive freedom in Iraq.[2] She recalls that "an unbroken belief in progress and a great sense of optimism about the potential of constructing a better work" was pervasive at the time, and I think that this idea of limitless potential and experimentation is one of the things that makes Hadid's work so intriguing.[3] In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honor, and it was after this that her career really took off.[4]

But now I'm getting ahead of myself. This month, I'll discuss Hadid's career thus far, talking about her schooling and artwork in week 2 and moving on to some of her buildings, the Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, in Cincinnati and the BMW Plant Central Building, in Leipzig, in week 3, and the recently completed MAXXI, the National Museum of the XXI Century Arts, in Rome, in week 4.

[1] John Seabrook, "The Abstractionist: Zaha Hadid's unfettered invention," The New Yorker December 21 & 28, 2009, 114, 118.

[2] Ibid., 116.

[3] Ibid., 116.

[4] Ibid., 114.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments - they mean the world to me!