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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:48 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Zaha Hadid

'I don't do nice': Zaha Hadid has created spectacular buildings all over the world - but never in Britain.
As her first UK work is unveiled, she talks to Jonathan Glancey about the trials of being a woman architect, and why her new designs are inspired by the swamplands of southern Iraq
9 October 2006
The Guardian

In the cavernous meeting room of the former school that houses her London-based practice, Zaha Hadid is talking me through her latest commissions. I count about 18 major designs: a bridge in Abu Dhabi; a maritime terminal in Salerno; a library for the University of Seville; a skyscraper in Marseille; a museum of modern art in Rome. There's also an opera house for Dubai that extends out from the auditorium into the sea, like some magnificent starfish.

But one country is conspicuously absent from Hadid's map of commissions: Britain. Remarkably, it is only now, a quarter of a century after she opened her architectural studio in London, that her first British building has been completed: Maggie's Cancer Care Centre in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which will be opened by Gordon Brown next month, and then only from behind a veil of intense secrecy.

"Magazines fight for 'exclusives' on our latest buildings," Hadid explains. "Last year, one design magazine was so crazy to be first to publish the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany [perhaps her finest work, and tipped to win this year's Stirling Prize], it sent its reporter dressed in a hard hat pretending to be a construction worker, so he could get the first pictures with a little camera."

Hadid has become an international celebrity in the world of architecture; quite why Britain has been starved of her magic is a puzzle. Although she has been awarded a CBE for services to architecture, it was her adopted home land (she was born in Baghdad) that very nearly ended her career only a decade ago.

In 1994, Hadid won the competition for the design of what was to have been an ultra-modern opera house on Cardiff Bay. Her design was as practical as it was inspiring, with much of the magnetism of Frank Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim, but it was rejected by the Millennium Commission in December 1995. Virginia Bottomley, then secretary of state for National Heritage, said that the application was flawed by "uncertainties". But, whatever the reasons, those outside the decision-making process could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Hadid was a risky prospect, better in theory than in practice. One wonders how those who vetoed the project feel when they look at the banal architectural sweep of Cardiff Bay now.

Hadid kept her nerve after this fall from grace. "I've no idea what I'd have done otherwise," she says. She might have painted: her Russian constructivist-inspired paintings, rooted in the work of the radical Soviet artists of the first years of the revolution, are mesmerising. But she says not. "The paintings have only ever been ways of exploring architecture. I don't see them as art." What about academia? She has inspired a new generation of architects worldwide, and studied mathematics at university. "No. I don't have the patience, and I'm not very tactful. People say I can be frightening."

Architecture has been in Hadid's blood, ever since she first visited Sumer in the south of Iraq, where architecture itself began and the first cities were built. Her father, she says, was a friend of Wilfred Thesiger, the English explorer. "I knew the marshes of southern Iraq from his books and photographs before I ever went there myself. When I did, as a teenager, I was amazed. My father [a leading liberal Iraqi politician] took us to see the Sumerian cities. Then we went by boat, and then on a smaller one made of reeds, to visit villages in the marshes. The beauty of the landscape - where sand, water, reeds, birds, buildings and people all somehow flowed together - has never left me."

It's a landscape that continues to inspire her. "I'm trying to discover - invent, I suppose - an architecture, and forms of urban planning, that do something of the same thing in a contemporary way. I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels; now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape, to flow together with contemporary cities and the lives of their peoples."

In 2006, Hadid is still the world's only major woman architect, by which I mean an architect who will go down in the history books. "There have been some well-known women architects in the US," she says. "But they have always been part of husband-and-wife teams, like Bob Venturi and Denise Scott Brown [who designed the National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing]. There have been very intelligent women architects working in local authorities and government offices worldwide, too. But for a woman to go out alone into architecture is still very, very hard. It's still a man's world."

What's more, she says, architecture requires 100% dedication. "If it doesn't kill you, then you're no good. I mean, really - you have to go at it full time. You can't afford to dip in and out. When women break off to have babies, it's hard for them to reconnect on the big scale. And when [women] do succeed, the press, even the industry press, spend far too much time talking about how we dress, what shoes we're wearing, who we're meant to be seeing. That's pretty sad for women, especially when it's written by women who really should know better.

"In another way, I can be my own worst enemy. As a woman, I'm expected to want everything to be nice, and to be nice myself. A very English thing. I don't design nice buildings - I don't like them. I like architecture to have some raw, vital, earthy quality. You don't need to make concrete perfectly smooth or paint it or polish it. If you consider changes in the play of light on a building before it's built, you can vary the colour and feel of concrete by daylight alone. Some winters ago, I flew from New York to Chicago in the snow; at sunset, the landscape and cityscapes became no colours other than starkly contrasted black and white, while the rivers and lakes were blood red. Amazing. You wouldn't call that a nice landscape, but it had the quality of light and life I would love to get into our buildings."

Hadid is feeling under the weather, she says, the inevitable result of having to jet backwards and forwards to the US. Her overflowing diary demands that she zip around the world from one client meeting, lecture, exhibition opening and building site to another. Does she ever stop? "Yes, I had a month off, sort of, this summer. I had this great idea of just lying by the pool doing nothing, like any other girl. But, for one thing, I can't stop thinking, and for another, I was in Lebanon. This year's bombing raids started the day after I arrived."

Hadid's new building for the American University of Beirut is currently under construction. She did a degree in maths there before taking up architecture in 1972 and is very fond of the Mediterranean city. The raids made her more furious than sad: "It's a crazy situation, especially for an architect who wants to build, not destroy." Crazy, too, for someone of Hadid's background. Strictly speaking, she is a Muslim, but she was educated by Catholic nuns in Baghdad, and then at a school in Switzerland. At home, Hadid was brought up in an intellectual family, for whom education and the understanding of other cultures - there are many in Iraq - were an absolute priority. After the 1958 coup d'etat that brought down Feisal, the British-sponsored Iraqi monarch, and before the Ba'ath party seized power 10 years later, education was top of the Iraqi political agenda.

"When I went to the marsh villages," Hadid says, "there were new schools among the reeds. Girls were being educated for the first time. It was a wonderful, if brief, moment in Iraqi history. Today, there is nothing but destruction. Now, we have to watch the same destruction, the same slide into what could well be civil war in Lebanon, the same loss of learning, the loss of opportunities for young women. There are so many brilliant Jewish liberals and Arab intellectuals: why can't they sit down and sort out this stupid mess?"

Much as Hadid would like to build in Baghdad as well as Beirut, this is hardly the right time. Her efforts are necessarily concentrated elsewhere, in the cultural arena. "What I would really love to build are schools, hospitals, social housing. Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society."

Meanwhile, she is being asked to design more and more daring buildings: skyscrapers, concert halls and the Aquatic Centre, or swimming pool, for the 2012 London Olympics, for which she has high hopes. How can she take on so many projects without diluting the inventiveness of her designs? "We were without work for so long that I haven't lost the habit of saying yes to every job. Call this insecurity if you like. I mean, look around you here [at the practice]: you'll find 150 architects clinging from the rafters. I'm aware that we could slip into a slick mass-production mode, but I don't think we will. Maybe, though, I'll have to start saying no."

Patrik Schumacher, Hadid's right-hand architect, joins us around an enormous conference table. "We argue all the time," says Hadid. Schumacher guides me through future projects, none of which shows any sign that the practice's collective imagination - or Hadid's daring - are about to become compromised by overwork. "I think we're maturing," says Schumacher. "We're moving into towers. We've had to learn about energy use and structural systems so we can offer skyscrapers that are something different - both exciting and socially responsible."

Images of skyscrapers appear on a wall-mounted screen. They sweep down to pavements in great skirts or tails that,once realised, would embrace shops, cafes, metro entrances and public meeting spaces. They soar into the sky, morphing as they rise. Some resemble drawings of exotic plants, others sea creatures. One, a smooth organic form with raised lettering and decorative motifs, is a sort of experimental handbag: it is an idea Hadid has been working on for Yves St Laurent.

"For an architect," she says, "everything connects. The design of a handbag, or furniture or cutlery [Hadid has recently produced designs for three] have their challenges, and they're fun to do. I'd love to get some designs into mass, low-cost production. I want to be able to touch everyone, not just the educated and cultural elite, with a little of what we can do. One of the things I feel confident in saying we can do is bring some excitement, and challenges, to people's lives. We want them to be able to embrace the unexpected."

Hadid has even been able to add excitement to one of the world's most thrilling sports: her Bergisel ski-jump at Innsbruck is a superb match for the performances of those who dare to launch themselves down, and off, its glacial, vertiginous course. Equally, she has added to the performances of singers, with, for example, a celebrated stage set for the Pet Shop Boys' world tour of 1999-2000, and with an inspired setting for Swiss-born composer Beat Furrer's opera, Desire, performed in Graz in 2003.

There is no getting away from the fact that architecture played at Hadid's level is becoming ever more theatrical. It has been suggested that such architects are as much "directors" as designers of buildings. Hadid aims to shape entire urban landscapes, spaces and places we have yet to imagine, let alone build. Such landscapes might just happen to incorporate buildings that soar like ski-jumps, while spreading out like the marsh villages under vast Sumerian skies.

The Maggie's Cancer Care clinic will not reflect the full range and power of Hadid's ambition and architecture. But it will be an impressive toe-hold on these islands for one of the great architectural talents of our times *
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Old December 20th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #2
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Hong Kong - Renowned architect to design PolyU's 'innovation tower'
13 December 2007
South China Morning Post



In 2011, Polytechnic University will have a HK$400 million purpose-built "innovation tower".

The university has appointed world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid to steer design of the 10-storey project, with construction scheduled to begin in 2009.

Alexander Tzang Hing-chung, deputy president of the university, said about HK$400 million was expected to be spent on the project.

"The building is largely financed by the government," Mr Tzang said. "We might spend more than that as the building costs might increase during the construction in the coming few years."

He said it would house the university's school of design and a museum to showcase local and international design classics.

The Iraqi-born Ms Hadid is the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture prize, which is known in architectural circles as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The innovation tower marks her first design project in Hong Kong. It would be made up of two adjacent buildings, which would be connected.

"We will have escalators throughout the space [inside the building]," she said. "We hope to have an interesting central space [where] people can meet and talk."

From the entrance foyer, a long escalator will penetrate through four levels of transparent studios and workshops.

Mr Tzang said the new tower would look different from different angles.

Victor Lo Chung-wing, chairman of the Polytechnic University council, said the new building would not serve just as the design school but would also be a meeting place for all the disciplines studied at the university.

"The innovation tower is going to be an interesting tower, not only in the school, but also in the whole of the Tsim Sha Tsui area," Mr Lo said.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 06:44 PM   #3
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Warsaw
Recently Lilium, one of BSR's subsidiaries, announced plans to build a 257-meter-tall skyscraper on Al. Jerozolimskie in Warsaw, right beside the Marriot hotel.
"As long as the the Polish property market continues to grow and developers are enjoying favorable conditions, Israeli investors will come to Poland," said Avi Friedman, economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy. He also confirmed that the economic department of the embassy continously receives inquiries from new developers regarding entering the Polish market.
Lillium, 257m, renders by Zaha Hadid




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Old December 23rd, 2007, 10:29 PM   #4
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That Warzaw project looks great! Any chances it gets build?
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 11:27 PM   #5
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In Bilbao (Spain):
She is going to do the Zorrozaurre masterplan:






http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...137738&page=47

And the Olabeaga-Basurto one (in front of Zorrozaurre)




http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...168633&page=16

And in Durango (a town near Bilbao) another one (the planning and the first tower)



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Old December 24th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fettekatz View Post
That Warzaw project looks great! Any chances it gets build?
As high as the tower
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Old December 24th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fettekatz View Post
That Warzaw project looks great! Any chances it gets build?
Yes
Warsaw has recently seen a flurry of ambitious high-rise projects. Several weeks ago Israel's Lilium Company submitted an application for building conditions decision for a 257-meter building at the intersection of Jerozolimskie and Jana Pawła II avenues, next to the Marriott Hotel.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #8
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Her work is sublime
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Old December 24th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #9
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For Melbourne's Docklands:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/nation...647977807.html

Visionary architect set to transform Docklands

By Royce Millar
August 2, 2007

One of the world's leading architects is designing a Melbourne landmark for Docklands that will be Australia's greenest and most expensive office and housing complex.

Iraqi-born, London-based Zaha Hadid will oversee design of a spectacular $1.5 billion scheme earmarked for Collins Street by Middle Eastern investment company Sama Dubai. Ms Hadid, 57, was the first woman to win architecture's most prestigious award, the Pritzker prize, in 2004.

Property and State Government sources say Government approval looks likely for the proposal. It consists of four buildings - Docklands' tallest tower and elaborate civic spaces over two sites and on decking over Wurundjeri Way.

The scheme was recently presented to former premier Steve Bracks, whose response was believed to be encouraging. Docklands development agency VicUrban has supported it in principle.

Ms Hadid's work is variously described as ultra modern, supremacist and utopian. A major influence was pre-Stalin Soviet constructivism. She gained international fame with her design for The Peak country club in Hong Kong in 1983. Once known as an architect whose work was often too ambitious to be built, she is now sought after. Her built works include the Lois Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio; the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany; and a National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Rome.

Royal Australian Institute of Architects Victorian president Philip Goad described Ms Hadid as a "colourful, larger-than-life figure" who would bring much needed "style and finesse" to Docklands. "Docklands could do with a much greater degree of architectural sophistication," he said. "It needs to rise above the developer schlock we now have."

The proposed tower will be 50 to 60 levels high and would occupy the site once earmarked for the failed Grollo Tower.

The proposal includes sophisticated water features and extensive use of recycled materials. A Government source said the proposal was so green it would deserve an eight-to-12-star energy rating. The current rating system extends to six stars. The only two completed buildings to have achieved six-star accreditation in Australia are in Melbourne: the Melbourne City Council's CH2 in Swanston Street and a nine-storey building at 140 Albert Road, South Melbourne.

But the Sama Dubai proposal is already controversial given the involvement of John Tabart, the former VicUrban chief executive who now works for the company. After a decade at the helm, Mr Tabart left VicUrban (formerly Docklands Authority) in December 2005 bound for Dubai.

Last September VicUrban agreed to deal exclusively with Sama over the Batman Hill sites for three months. Ten months later the exclusive negotiations continue. Local developers, competitors for the sites, are furious at what they claim is special treatment for Sama.

"They got preferential treatment because Tabart was the CEO of Vicurban," one disgruntled competitor said this week. "It stinks."

Mr Tabart is not involved in negotiations between VicUrban and the Government.

Such is the wealth of Sama that it may build the Docklands complex speculatively, gambling that tenants will be found later. Such risk-taking has been rare in Melbourne since the property meltdown of the early 1990s.

The cashed-up company has billions to invest across the world and is believed to be targeting stable Western economies for investment. But it is highly sensitive to any potential hostility to Arab investment in countries such as Australia.

A theme of the proposed project is the re-establishment and celebration of Batman's Hill, once a city focal point and location of John Batman's home from 1836. The hill, now more of a rise, was levelled to make way for Spencer Street Station in the mid-1860s.

Architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall and development investment firm EPC Partners are believed to be among local firms involved in the Sama scheme. Major Projects Minister Theo Theophanous issued a carefully worded statement to The Age this week that sounded promising for the developers.

"No decisions have been made about the future of this project," it said. "However, we are keen to keep expanding the Docklands, which is a vibrant community."

VicUrban said it did not discuss proposals under consideration.

Responses could not be obtained from Sama Dubai or Ms Hadid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The tallest tower should be around the same height as the Rialto from what I've heard.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 04:38 AM   #10
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Old December 24th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #11
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Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck, Austria











Hungerburgbahn, Innsbruck, Austria



















apartment house, vienna, Austria




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Old December 24th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #12
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i love zaha hadids architekture style
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Old December 24th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #13
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Seville University Main Library. Construction will start in 2008.







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Old December 26th, 2007, 09:32 PM   #14
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Hungary - Szervita Square (Budapest) ORCO PROPERTY GROUP







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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:34 AM   #15
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Hungary - Szervita Square (Budapest) ORCO PROPERTY GROUP

Whoa, what the hell. That totally doesn't fit there!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 11:05 PM   #16
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I disagee... it's a great contrast
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Old December 28th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #17
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Spectacular work. My God.
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Old December 28th, 2007, 01:14 AM   #18
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Dongdaemun World Design Plaza & Park in Seoul- to be completed in 2010



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Old December 28th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #19
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I love her designs
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Old December 28th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #20
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Spiralling Tower in Barcelona:
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