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June 3-October 25, 2006

“My ambition is always to realize theoretical projects that seem difficult at the time.” —Zaha Hadid

Having first achieved international recognition through her striking images and designs, architect Zaha Hadid is widely known as one of today’s most innovative architects, consistently testing the boundaries of architecture, urbanism, and design. Born in Baghdad in 1950, Zaha Hadid studied in Switzerland, England, and Beirut. She pursued architectural studies at London’s Architectural Association in 1972 and received her diploma in 1977. Shortly after, she joined the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) with her previous professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis. She opened her independent practice in London in 1979. In 1982 she garnered international recognition when her submission The Peak won the competition for a leisure club in Hong Kong. The project was never completed, but since then, several audacious buildings have given material form to her search for challenging ideas. In 2004, Zaha Hadid was the first woman to receive architecture’s most prestigious award, the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Today, using London as the base for her firm, her vision is being transformed into suggestive buildings all over the world.

True to Hadid’s interdisciplinary approach to architecture, this 30-year retrospective presents a wide range of mediums: paintings, sketches, architectural drawings, urban plans, models, relief models, animations, furniture, and design objects. The exhibition is organized chronologically and fills the museum rotunda and the adjacent Tower gallery. The chronology is supplemented by presentations of Hadid’s thematic approaches, lines of research into architectural questions that coincide with particular points in the chronological order. The themes link projects from different periods, as Hadid revisits recurring concerns in each building. Some of the themes, such as the concepts of fields, folds, ribbons, and clusters, have today become important points of departure when discussing the production of contemporary space.

ABOVE: The Peak, Hong Kong, 1982–83.
Blue Slabs, Acrylic on canvas, 111 x 72 1/16 inches (282 x 183 cm). Zaha Hadid Architects ©Zaha Hadid, Ltd., London.

ON SPLASH PAGE: Exhibition design for The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915–1932, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Tektonic, Acrylic and watercolors on cartridge, 40 9/16 x 70 7/8 inches (103 x 180 cam). Zaha Hadid Architects. ©Zaha Hadid, Ltd., London