Goethe once said, “Architecture is frozen music.”
While the excitement for the recent exhibition by Japanese architect Tadao Ando still lingers in the city, Zaha Hadid Architects ’“ ZHA Foreground ”kicked off at the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art.
The new exhibition, which runs until the end of August, includes the legacy of the eponymous architecture firm, Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), the first woman to win the 2014 Pritzker Prize, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in Architecture.
Like Ando, Hadid left a monument to the world of architecture, known internationally for his radical deconstructivist designs.
Her outstanding contributions to architecture have been praised by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including the Forbes list of the “Most Powerful Women in the World” and the Japan Art Association which has awarded her the “Praemium Imperiale” awards.
In 2010 and 2011, his designs received the Stirling Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects, one of the highest recognitions in architecture.
“Hadid was an exceptional woman and we are delighted to show the public the development of her movement as a researcher, designer and architect across various geographies and histories, and how this movement affects the current innovative vision and work of Zaha Hadid Architects after his premature passing away, ”said Shai Baitel, artistic director of MAM Shanghai.
The exhibition examines the evolution of ZHA buildings over the past 40 years, from urban spaces flowing in the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010) and the Leeza SOHO Tower in Beijing (2019) to the projects of the study in development on six continents.
Defined by a timeline, the exhibition ranges from a set of architectural, video, image and virtual reality models to interior designs and products.
Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1950. He began his university studies at the American University of Beirut, focusing on mathematics. He then moved to London in 1972 to study architecture at the Architectural Association. After graduating in 1977, he joined the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. Two years later, he founded ZHA, redefining architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations around the world.
Working with senior office partner Patrik Schumacher, Hadid’s architecture organizes form and space into impressive spatial compositions. Its portfolio of completed projects includes more than 70 award-winning buildings in Asia, Europe, Africa and America.
It may be interesting for local visitors to know that Zaha Hadid had a close relationship with China.
In early 1981, Hadid traveled to China for the first time at the beginning of his career. Like his birthplace Iraq, sculpted by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, he found that China’s natural landscape and urban settlements were also shaped by its great rivers and waterways. Traveling from north to south and visiting many Chinese cities to experience its art and architecture, he studied the methods that harmoniously integrate historic architecture with its natural environment.
In 1983 he won the prestigious Hong Kong Peak Club competition for a new private club located in the Kowloon Hills.
The leisure and recreation center showcased Hadid’s research on the fluid relationships between building and place, indoor and outdoor.
Defined by the topography of the surrounding mountain slope in this and other subsequent seminal projects, such as the Guangzhou Opera (2010) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (2019), ZHA’s work echoes the coherence of nature in an organic architectural language, generating unique spatial experiences. which are intuitive to navigate and recognized around the world.
Known as an architect who constantly pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design, her work experiments with new spatial concepts intensifying existing urban landscapes and encompassing all fields of design, from the urban scale to the interiors and the furniture.
The exhibition will also feature Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD), created in 2006 for the need to create an independent platform to share Hadid’s distinct dialogue on contemporary design.
Today it is defined by Hadid’s inventive methodology and exclusive design in furniture, lighting and fashion that transcends boundaries.
Painting and drawing, especially in his early years, are important for researching his design work. Since his retrospective exhibition in 1983 at the AA in London, his architecture has been exhibited around the world and many of his works are in important museum collections.
His work was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2006, the Design in London in 2007, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2011, and the Serpentine Galleries in London in 2016.
In parallel with his private practice, Hadid has continued to participate in academics, occupying chairs and visiting professors at Harvard, Columbia, Yale and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
In 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack in America.
Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Dates: until August 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Venue: Shanghai Museum of Modern Art
Address: 4777 Binjiang Avenue, Pudong New Area