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Zaha Hadid An Architect Inspired By Nature Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1358 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Zaha Hadid born in Baghdad (Iraq) in 1950 has given a radically new approach to architecture by creating buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, with multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life. Her buildings seem to gather energy and fluid gestures from the surrounding, thus making them even more extraordinary. Her work is like the wings on the flight of poetry. She uses basic shapes in her architecture and creates a totally different form.

Only some are inspired by nature and when this inspiration is translated into creativity it is admired extraordinarily. As Bill Lacy, architect puts it, “Only rarely does an architect emerge with a philosophy and approach to the art from that influences the direction of the entire field. Such an architect is Zaha Hadid” [1]

The images of the Marsh Arabs in Iraq fascinated and inspired Zaha. She visited the places around the ancient architectural marvels of Sumeria. The breathtaking beauty of the landscape had a deep impression on her heart. “Deconstructivism” an entirely new form of architectural design is the name given to this found expression in her work. As Zaha explains, “I am trying to discover- invent I suppose an architecture, and forms of urban planning that do something 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.”[2] Her work is in agreement with the dynamics of city life.

Transparency is also her modus operandi. She made “x-ray drawings”, composite drawings composed of a series of transparent layers that showed everything simultaneously, by drawing each component separately before combining them into a single drawing.

Lexically TRANSPERANCY can be defined as “something that is clearly evident and present in its absolute visual entirety.” The literal definition of TRANSPARENCY is “the physical quality of a substance or a phenomenon like that seen in the quality of organization.”

The two kinds of transparency are:

PHYSICAL TRANSPARENCY: Attained through materials.

PHENOMENAL TRANSPARENCY: Attained when two forms or figures merge or interpenetrate without losing line sight to each other that is without an optical destruction of each other. We notice an ambiguity when spatial dimensions are disrupted by overlapping figures.

Hence here we introduce transparency not only as a property of the transparent materials i.e. beyond the realm of physical transparency.

The two sources of physical transparency are the cubist painting and “Machine aesthetic.” The transparency described by the cubist paintings and the transparency described in architecture are essentially different. The transparency in case of two dimensional painting by cubist artist is limited to pictorial representation and implication of three dimensions where as architecture deals with reality.

Literal transparency can easily be given a physical shape and is a physical fact whereas phenomenal transparency is difficult to achieve as it goes beyond the physical fact.

Some examples of Zaha Hadid’s works on transparency:

King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art is an example of Generous transparency provided by meandering glazing wrapping horizontally around one corner from ground level to the top of the building.

“The public lobby, where everyone enters, is downtown and central to the city so people who are just walking around can go in and have a coffee downstairs or hang around the lobby or go upstairs to quickly see a show. It is a very accessible building.

It’s not a compact building and there is a degree of transparency on the ground and above. So it’s not only how we use it, but also how we pass through it. Every time you confront the space you have a different experience”. [3] says Zaha Hadid

In the Zaha Hadid lounge of Wolfsburg, she has made architecture very visible through animations, models, drawings and paintings. Since the exhibition space itself blends with the architectural presentation, the special dimension is enhanced. The lower museum level has the main lounge, a gallery with its own direct access, enhancing the transparency.

It is an all new perspective of open office landscape. Its all about connectivity, transparency and functionality. This is a remarkable example of aesthetics in Industrial architecture. The design is in consonance with BMW’s requirement of office space. The central building that is the hub of activity within the factory complex is the point of convergence and also branching out. The spatial system is dynamic and encompasses the whole northern front of the factory and articulates. The central building as a point of essence of her work.

The designs of 2007 from Serralunga in Milan by Zaha combine more traditional forms with interesting layering and transparency to create some very chic but challenging product.

Le Corburier’s palace of the League of Nations is described as the “Essence of that phenomenal transparency which has been noticed as a characteristic of the central post- cubist attainable when two forms or figures merge or interpenetrate without losing line sight to each other that is without an optical destruction of each other.tradition”.

Transparency is greatly influenced by spatial organization, where a semi-pervious entity, like the body of trees in the heart of Le Corburiers’ “palace of the league of Nations”, act to obstract the line of sight leading to the palace entrance quay, only to re-emphasize it when the visitor has finished crossing the trees. Here we need to be clear in our concept of spatial distinctions which are used in the organization of the entire building to emphasize and frame a visitor’s line of sight. This framing effect can be understood as a form of transparency. Phenomenal transparency is all about spatial organization of a building.Transparency is basically the way to repesent how can any work any can be represented in the way that it can be understood by any one . I also understood that both the transparency are the same thing but can be represented in all aspects and in many aspects.

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Although Transparency is understood, more in its physical aspect but it is more than an optical characteristic. It means a broader spatial order. “It is a simultaneous perception of different spatial location”. It is interesting that space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity. Therefore transparency no longer remains perfectly clear but becomes ambiguous. It is here that we can understand say that Zaha Hadid’s work incorporates the element of Transparency.

Zaha Hadid in an interview with Ossian Ward-

“The distinction between street and structure is often blurred in a Zaha Hadid work: a transparent glass sheet is sometimes all that prevents interior spilling into exterior and the other way round.”[4]

As architect and critic, Joseph Giovannini puts it, “Air is Hadid’s element. She floats buildings that reside aloft. At a time when architect were concerned about manifesting the path of gravity through buildings. Hadid invented a new gravitational visual physics. She suspended weight in the same way dramatists suspended disbelief.” [5]

Elements in Zaha Hadid’s work that I would like to integrate in my work-

I am especially inspired by the smooth structures that emerge from fluid geometry like that in the Landesgartenschau- Weil – am Rhein and the MIND ZONE millennium DOME that incorporates both architectural and curatorial aspects. I would definitely keep in mind Zaha’s uniqueness lies in Out of the Box architecture that is largely utilitarian.


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