Industry Updates

Zaha Hadid at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg


On 27 June 2015, the State Hermitage Museum presents the first retrospective exhibition of Zaha Hadid’s architectural works in Russia.

The project was prepared specifically for the Nicholas Hall of the Winter Palace being one of the museum’s major ceremonial historical interiors. The exhibition prepared by the State Hermitage Museum and Zaha Hadid’s studio (London, UK) features 300 models, drawings, photographs, sculptures and design objects. The visitors will be able to see the experimental designs of the 1980s, the first completed projects that brought success to the architect, and, of course, the works of recent years, including the Guangzhou Opera House in China; the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku; the MAXXI — National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome; the London Aquatics Centre; the Signature Towers and many others.

Zaha Hadid is the first woman to become one of the main figures of contemporary world architecture. She managed to turn the complex and refined architectural direction of deconstructionism into a movement that is now widely accepted within modern architecture. The early theoretical designs of Hadid’s do not contain any less expression and virtuosity than her recent sketches. Today, Zaha Hadid is equally successful when designing stadiums, contemporary art centres, oncology centres and residential areas, as well as in her experiments with design and scenography. Her love for Russian Suprematism, to studies of which she dedicated many years, provides an additional opportunity for the Russian viewers to form their original opinion on Hadid’s work.

Zaha Hadid is not only the famous architect, but also an internationally recognized theoretician and teacher. Her designs result of rigorous research in the field of urban planning, architecture and design carried out by the architect throughout her career for more than 30 years. Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association (AA) School, today — the famous London architectural school. In 1979, two years after defending her graduation project at the Association with highest distinction, Hadid founded her own architectural studio and completed her first building, the Vitra Fire Station, in 1993. Zaha Hadid taught at the AA School until 1987 and has since held guest professorships at universities around the world including Columbia, Harvard and Yale. Currently, the architect is a professor of the Vienna University of Applied Arts.

In 2004, Zaha Hadid received the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered the Nobel Prize of architecture) at the ceremony held at the Hermitage Theatre.

Working with senior office partner Patrik Schumacher, Hadid’s interest lies in the interface zone between architecture, urbanism, landscape and geology; her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to the new innovative technologies as well as looking at nature’s coherence as a literal option for an architecture that is driven by new developments in digital design and enhanced manufacturing capabilities.

Zaha Hadid’s early projects were very much influenced by the Russian avant-garde, in particular by the work of Kazimir Malevich. The Peak, Leicester Square, Berlin 2000, Tomigaya Building, Malevich Tektonik – albeit unbuilt – represent Hadid’s Suprematist search for a new understanding of space and experimentation towards a new architecture to address the predicted complexity, connectivity and flexibility of our future.

The MAXXI — National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome; the London Aquatics Centre and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku are manifestos of such a difficult and mobile space solution. Yet, the earlier program works of Hadid’s, such as the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, USA and the Guangzhou Opera House in China, also implement the ideas of new spatial laws, unique dynamics and expressive images of the future.

Zaha Hadid’s studio is also a pioneer in product design. Generally, the works appear in collaboration with the companies inspired by advanced design, revolutionary technology and engineering solutions. This is how Zaha Hadid’s seamless surfaces and the famous flowing «space colours» are created.

Currently, Zaha Hadid’s studio is working on a variety of projects around the world, including the new Japan National Stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo; the Sleuk Rith Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the apartment complex on West 28th Street in New York; the Central Bank of Iraq and the Grand Theatre in Rabat, Morocco.

The exhibition is organized within the framework of the architectural program of the project «Hermitage 20/21» aimed at collecting, studying and exhibiting works of the XX — XXI centuries.

The curator of the exhibition is Ksenia Malich, researcher of the Modern Art Department at the State Hermitage Museum. Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher (UK) participated in developing the project concept.

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