The formal innovations that disrupted the field of architecture in recent decades owe much to the iconoclastic work of Zaha Hadid. Her idées fixes—concepts of explosion, calligraphy, distortion, and landscape—and the designs they sparked were so radical as to appear utterly surreal, even absurd. And since they first showed up in Hadid’s often conceptual, seemingly abstract drawings and paintings, it was easy to view them as purely artistic gestures.
But these innovations were in fact ways of solving problems—of spatial organization and form-making—in the service of a building’s social and technical functioning. Taken together, these signature concepts birthed a new architectural language that was much richer, more expressive, and more versatile. Hadid gifted the discipline empowering morphological tools that poetically address the requirements and desires of our time, and that reached full fruition in her major mature works.
Images and edited text from Zaha Hadid Architects: Redefining Architecture & Design, a 284-page volume, compiled by the firm and with an introduction by ZHA principal Patrik Schumacher, appear courtesy of Images Publishing Group.