In many parts of the world, more women have architectural degrees than men. However, this fact hasn’t translated past university into the working world as women continue to be underrepresented across nearly all levels of practice.
In her lifetime, Pritzker prize-winning architect, fashion designer and artist Zaha Hadid (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) became one of the most recognizable faces of our field. Revered and denounced in equal measure for the sensuous curved forms for which she was known, Hadid rose to prominence not solely through parametricism but by designing spaces to occupy geometries in new ways. Despite her tragically early death in March of 2016, the projects now being completed by her office without their original lead designer continue to push boundaries both creative and technological, while the fearless media presence she cultivated in recent decades has cemented her place in society as a woman who needs just one name: Zaha.
This article was originally published on May 9, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Situated on the peak of Bergisel Mountain above the picturesque alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, the Bergisel Ski Jump represents the contemporary incarnation of a historic landmark. Designed by Zaha Hadid between 1999 and 2002, the Ski Jump is a study in formal expression: its sweeping lines and minimalist aesthetic create a sense of graceful, high-speed motion, reflecting the dynamic sensation of a ski jump in a monumental structure that stands above the historic center of Innsbruck and the mountain slopes around.
This article was originally published on April 21, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Although Zaha Hadid began her remarkable architectural career in the late 1970s, it would not be until the 1990s that her work would lift out her drawings and paintings to be realized in physical form. The VitraFire Station, designed for the factory complex of the same name in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, was the among the first of Hadid’s design projects to be built. The building’s obliquely intersecting concrete planes, which serve to shape and define the street running through the complex, represent the earliest attempt to translate Hadid’s fantastical, powerful conceptual drawings into a functional architectural space.
Despite his late entry into architecture, Geoffrey Manning Bawa FRIBA, (July 23, 1919 – May 27, 2003), explored modernism and its cultural implications and created a unique, recognizable style of design which had a lasting impact on architects across the world. Well versed in Modernist theory, Bawa was one of the original proponents of Tropical Modernism, a design movement in which sensitivity for local context combines with the form-making principles of modernism. Bawa’s architecture led to the formation of a new architectural identity and aesthetic for many tropical environments, and won him recognition and awards, including the Chairman’s Award of the Aga Kahn Special Chairman’s Award for Architecture (2001) and the title Deshamanya, in recognition of his contributions to his country by the government of Sri Lanka.
Unbeknown to many, cork is something of a dark horse when it comes to the environment—a model of a sustainable industry and building material. By its very nature, cork is both recyclable and renewable, as it is the only tree that regenerates its bark, while harvesting that bark causes the tree no harm.
Cork has been sneaking its way into our buildings for many years now; due to its hard-wearing properties it can be found, for example, in the checkerboard flooring of the Library of Congress. Even NASA has been wise to cork's light weight and insulation capacity, using it as an insulator for their space shuttles.
Simplicity is the intent, monastic is the feel. – Kashef Chowdhury
Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury/URBANA’s Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, seems like a project that is not so much built up in the landscape, but carved out of it. A labyrinth of arches, courtyards, pavilions, and pools, all carefully crafted from handmade bricks, define the space of a facility for a charitable organization—Friendship NGO—who work with remote communities with limited opportunities.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced 17 winning projects in the 2017 RIBA East Awards. Topped by Walters & Cohen Architects' Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre in Suffolk which won the RIBA East Building of the Year Award, these 17 regional winners will go on to compete in RIBA's national awards, with the best in the national awards ultimately going forward to compete for the Stirling Prize.
"It was just fabulous to see the diversity and exceptional quality of buildings around the region," said RIBA East Regional Director Louise Todd. "The jury had a really difficult task in selecting the winners, which says a lot for the strength of the shortlist and the creativity of the architects involved."
Zaha Hadid's projects are remarkable not only for her innovative way of handling tangible materials but also for her imagination regarding the medium of light. Her theories of fragmentation and fluidity are now well-known design techniques which enabled her form-finding. However, her advances in using light to render her architecture have often been neglected—even though they became an essential element in revealing and interpreting her architecture. The three-decade transition from minimal light lines at her early Vitra Fire Station to the world's tallest atrium at the Leeza SOHO skyscraper, which collects an abundance of daylight, shows the remarkable development of Zaha Hadid’s luminous legacy.
Our modern day, image-obsessed culture has got us consuming a large quantity of architecture through photographs, as opposed to physical, spatial experiences. The advantages of architectural photography are great; it allows people to obtain a visual understanding of buildings they may never get the opportunity to visit in their lifetime, creating a valuable resource that allows us to expand our architectural vocabulary. However, one must stay critical towards the disadvantages of photography when it comes to architecture. Jeremy Till, author of “Architecture Depends,” summarizes this in his chapter “Out Of Time”: “The photograph allows us to forget what has come before (the pain of extended labor to achieve the delivery of the fully formed building) and what is to come after (the affront of time as dirt, users, change, and weather move in). It freezes time or, rather, freezes out time. Architectural photography ‘lifts the building out of time, out of breath,’ and in this provides solace for architects who can dream for a moment that architecture is a stable power existing over and above the tides of time.”
The following tips aim to not only improve the visual strength of your architectural photography, but also the stories that they can tell—going beyond the individual images in order to communicate buildings’ relationships with their contexts, space and time.