This is a post to celebrate Zaha Hadid. The infamous architect, who passed away in late March of 2016, was recognized worldwide as one of the most daring architects of our time, and the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. To me, as an Arab woman architect, her confidence, creativity and drive were truly inspiring. Her architecture was often controversial, bold and ambitious in its form and activated a much needed discourse following post-modernism’s dead-end historicism.
To celebrate the work of this daring architect, I look up the lobby of Hadid’s MAXXI Museum in Rome, completed in 2009. MAXXI stands for the Museum of Arts of the XXI century: it was the first national museum of contemporary art in Italy and the first building of hers I ever visited. Its fair-faced concrete curved walls are smooth and heavy (in the best sense of the word). They offer a wonderful visual and structural support to the black staircases, which seem to be floating in mid-air, accentuated by their illuminated landings. Red pipes, in the atrium’s void, surround the staircases in a playful contrast.
These fluid forms are attractive and inviting. They draw the visitor’s gaze up into the irregular atrium, and invite the visitor into discovering the museum’s intriguing architecture, which embodies ‘a new fluid kind of spatiality of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry, designed to embody the chaotic fluidity of modern life’. The MAXXI is one of many projects which will remain a testament of Hadid’s brilliance and striking vision.
Cheers to Zaha Hadid!
Quote source: Archdaily, MAXXI Museum, Zaha Hadid, December 16th 2009