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Architecture is an important art form, yet, having a clear and obvious purpose, it is often relegated to serving a purely utilitarian purpose. While experiments with form and function are not unique to architecture, the concept of utility restricted the opportunities of architects until Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-British architect of Arabian descent, presented her ideas. Hadid managed to reinvent the entire approach toward architecture by shifting the focus thereof to the area where form meets function and expands it, thus creating unique and inimitable architectural art pieces. Herein lies the rationale for choosing Zaha Hadid as the focus of the paper; she pushed the boundaries of architecture, causing a shift toward a brief yet glorious moment of Neofuturism.
Born on October 31, 1950, in Baghdad, Iraq, Zaha Hadid was influenced heavily by the Left-Liberal views of her father (Seražin et al. 1182). She received mathematical education at the American University of Beirut, yet, later on, she decided to choose architecture as the main field of future explorations (Seražin et al. 1183). Thus, Hadid moved to London to enroll in the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1972.
After graduation, Hadid started her organization, designing unique projects that challenged the traditional perception of architecture. Some of her works include the extension of the Ordrupgaard Museum (completed in 2005), the London Olympics Aquatics Centre (completed in 2011), and the Innovation Tower in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (completed in 2014) (Willett and Garfield). Hadid’s original ideas that incorporated the elements of neo-futurist and promoted luxurious architecture make her and her works a particularly interesting object of study.
Hadid’s projects received wide recognition due to the challenging ideas and the groundbreaking concepts that they presented. In 2004, Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was the first time when it was given to a woman (“Zaha Hadid’s Style and Design Philosophy” par. 2). In retrospect, arguing the jury’s decision is very hard due to the unique and masterful way in which Hadid designed her projects and the original ideas that underlay them. The distinctively unique appearance of each of Hadid’s designs was a testimony to her unparalleled talent and imagination.
Among the key works that Zaha Hadid created, one should mention the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre first. Built-in Baku, Azerbaijan, the art piece features the characteristic elements of Hadid’s style, including sharp angles and curves, as well as new materials such as glass fiber reinforced concrete and glass fiber reinforced polyester. The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre is particularly emblematic of her style since it embodies not only technological progress but also luxury (Tavşan and Akbarzadeh 4).
Looking back at the changes that Zaha Hadid introduced to the art and industry, one could argue that she coined the term “luxury architecture” (“Zaha Hadid’s Style and Design Philosophy” par. 1). Embracing uninhibited originality and the opportunities for future innovations, Hadid’s designs are imbued with meaning and spark visitors’ imagination.
By introducing the idea of expanding form with function in the environment of architecture, Zaha Hadid created fascinating and memorable projects, many of which are still in progress. The architect challenged the traditional perception of form and particularly the lines that should be used in construction, thus making the shapes and outlines of buildings expressive. With several projects still being in their inception stage, Hadid’s legacy lives and continues to inspire new artists. Therefore, choosing Hadid as the focus of the paper is fully justified by the impact that she left in the British and Iraqi culture.
Seražin, Helena, et al. Women’s Creativity since the Modern Movement (1918-2018): Toward a New Perception and Reception. Založba ZRC, 2018.
Tavşan, Cengiz, and Niloufar Akbarzadeh. “The Effect of Language Patterns on Architectural Forms (From the Perspective of Semiotics on Zaha Hadid’s Works).” Cogent Social Sciences, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1–13.
Willett, Megan, and Leanna Garfield. “Zaha Hadid Changed Architecture Forever with These Designs.” Business Insider. 2016. Web.
“Zaha Hadid’s Style and Design Philosophy.” Engel & Volkers, n.d. Web.