Zaha Hadid’s unfettered invention

091221_r19146_p646John Seabrook at The New Yorker:

For an architect so celebrated, Hadid has a relatively small output. She has completed thirteen structures: these include the Vitra Fire Station, in Weil am Rhein, Germany (1994); a train station in Strasbourg (2001); a ski jump in Innsbruck, with an attached restaurant (2002); the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, in Cincinnati (2003); the Phaeno Science Center, in Wolfsburg, Germany (2005); the BMW Plant Central Building, in Leipzig (2005); and MAXXI, in Rome (2009). She shows an unusual degree of comfort with changes of scale; she enjoys working on small projects, like furniture and shoes, at the same time that she is designing large structures, like museums and railway stations. Her Aqua Table, a resin-and-silicone dining table she designed in 2005 for Established & Sons, which has sold for as much as two hundred thousand dollars, looks like the roof of her Aquatics Center, in East London, currently under construction, which will be the architectural showpiece of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

There is no single Hadid style, although one can detect a watermark in her buildings’ futuristic smoothness. Certain themes carry through her use of materials (glass, steel, concrete), her lines (corridors often trace flowing arabesque shapes, while roof struts make sharp Z-shaped angles), her structures (she favors column-free spaces), and her sculptural interiors and asymmetric façades. In all her work, Hadid is concerned with movement and speed—both the way people will move through the buildings and the way a sight line travels through light and shadow.

more here.