23 May 2016

BBC Image Film

“We can only perceive space when we break free from the earth, when the point of support disappears.” 

- Malevich

The world renowned, Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid is revered as a creator of buildings that defy gravity. Over a 40 year long career, Hadid indisputably established herself as one of the world’s greatest women architects. Following her recent passing, she leaves behind the legacy of an architect who built the unbuildable.

Her vision of the world began to take shape while growing up in Bagdad, a place that had a strong belief in modernist ideas. In 1972, Hadid moved to London to study at the AA (Architecture Association) a radical, alternative school –  “a house for creativity” and experimentation.

It was here she absorbed the ideas of Kazimir Malevich, a Russian artist who painted explosive, geometric and abstract compositions. Hadid graduated from the AA in 1977, staying on as a teacher there for next 10 years.

Hadid describes her time at the AA as one of being in an atmosphere of “rebellion” and “challenging the status quo”.

After teaching, Hadid founded an independent practice called Zaha Hadid Architects, whose first major built project was the Vitra Fire Station, 1993. The Vitra project had a dramatic, abstract form that pushed the construction technology to the extreme. The design is distinguished by how the materiality of concrete, typically perceived as heavy, is composed to appear light and elegant, and how the buildings elements blend art, sculpture and architecture.

Over the next decades, developments in computer software technology facilitated a change in Hadid and business partner, Patrik Schumacher's design approach. Ultimately, their desire to create fluid and organic forms saw them pioneer the ideas and principles of Parametricim. The Nordpark railway station is a built example that explores these ideas and principles – with its non-repetitive, highly complex form that complements the surrounding landscape.

Hadid contributed immeasurably to the understanding and practice of radical architecture, leaving her mark on the world though many successful projects such as the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku – the building that is often considered to be her most significant and fundamental endeavour. The building honours the contemporary and traditional Azeri culture with its seamless curves and fluid form that establishes a continuous relationship between its surrounding and the interior.

Hadid had an early reputation as a ‘paper architect’ whose designs were of explosive, complex shapes on a canvas. Through a lifetime of drive and achievement, Hadid became an extraordinary, pioneering woman whose distinctive designs and vision of the world has influenced many to push the boundaries and build the impossible. “Up to even 20 years ago, people did not believe in what I call the fantastic, they did not think that this world is possible, and some people still don’t think it is possible, and it is," said Hadid.

All images from http://www.zaha-hadid.com/

View "Zaha Hadid - Who Dares Wins" film here