complexity of dreams | ARCHITECTS OF FUTURE

future projects and projections of time






“It is insufficient for architecture today to directly implement an existing building typology; it instead requires architects to carefully examine the whole area with new interventions and programmatic typologies”


Dame Zaha Hadid


31 October 1950

- 31 March 2016



Dame Zaha Hadid (31 October 1950 - 31 March 2016) was the uncrowned queen of contemporary iconic architecture. Her buildings practically scream, "I'm a Hadid". A bona fide autrice, Hadid was without a doubt the world's most famous woman in a starchitect stratosphere strangely dominated by her masculine peers.


Since her student days in London at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid (born 1950) had been intensely preoccupied with changing our general notions of space - not only in a physical sense, but also socially and culturally. Hadid's projects are characterized by their dynamic formal qualities of sinuously, curving shapes, or crystallized strata. This sums up as a kind of new Baroque, a sensuous, more vibrant and engaging type of architecture.

Hadid's projects during the late 1970s and 1980s were marked by a profound understanding of early 20th  Century avant-garde artists and architects. In an attempt to redevelop and make relevant again the formal investigations of Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism, her projects expressed utopian ideals.


Today, Zaha Hadid Architects create landmarks projects for all types of functional programs. Their buildings are never bland or mundane, but moreover assertive statements of a particular view, that the world may indeed look different. Their efforts have resulted in a staggering almost one thousand projects throughout the globe, in every scale, from urban design schemes to objects and furniture design.


Heydar Aliyev Center.

Zaha Hadid Architects' New Cultural Center in Azerbaijan

... Hovers on a Platform of Light, Like a Beacon of Advanced Design that Spans East and West.


Every evening, as the stars swirl across the sky over the seaside city of Baku, one glimmering structure seems to hover just above the Earth's horizon on a platform of light: the luminous curves, soaring arcs and flowing geometry of the Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, in the capital of Azerbaijan instantly identify this as one of the globe's newest icons of advanced experimental architecture.


Leaders of the Republic of Azerbaijan, who selected Zaha Hadid's London-based architecture studio following an international competition, have stated the center will play a leading role in re-sculpting the capital's image and in the wider process of carving out the nation's cultural future.

Fluid Spaces

Fluid spaces

During a talk at London's Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid said the Baku Center is part of a series of experimental "fluid space" structures the studio has been developing with the Nordpark Railway Stations in Austria, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, and the London Olympics Aquatics Center, which were featured in a retrospective of Hadid's works at the Danish Architecture Center during the summer of 2013.

The skin the building lives in

The architect, who co-authored and edited a boo on the project titled "Zaha Hadid Architects: Heydar Aliyev Center" (

/en/heydar-aliyev-center), stated in a design description: "One of the most critical yet challenging elements of the project was the architectural development of the building's skin."


"Our ambition to achieve a surface so continuous that it appears homogenous required a broad range of different functions, construction logics and technical systems that had to be brought together and integrated into the building's envelope," he added. "Advanced computing allowed for the continuous control and communication of these complexities among the numerous project participants."

Bekiroglu, who has been a visiting critic and tutor at the Royal College of Arts in London and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, said during the interview that the rigid Soviet buildings surrounding the Baku cultural outpost help underscore its unique curved geometry.


Even light interacts with these contrasting architectural forms in different ways, he said. While light bounces off each side of a rectilinear building in a uniform direction, he explained, with a building of double-curvature surfaces, the patterns of reflected light are much richer.

"We like how the center is transformed from day to night," he mused. "As the sun goes down, the light comes from inside and washes across the surface."


Ground-embedded facade lighting positioned along the perimeter of the center projects cones of light onto the building's surface, helping create the illusion that this glowing form is suspended above the Earth, free from the force of gravitation.

"We tried to make it as light as possible," he explained. The entire design "gives you the sensation of floating."


Inside the complex, across its curved spaces, Bekiroglu said, "It seems like there's no gravity."


Leaders of the Baku center state on their website that this new cultural icon will play a central role in helping the country chart its post-Soviet future in areas ranging from nation-building studies and the promotion of Azeri arts to the presentation of "world cultural heritage and the accomplishments of various civilizations in Azerbaijan."

see more about

| Lars Müller Publishers |


Baku, Azerbaijan



Library, museum, concert hall, conference center



The Republic of Azerbaijan


Overall site area:

111,292 m2


Total floor area:

101,801 m2



Zaha Hadid Architects



Zaha Hadid

Patrik Schumacher


Project Designer

and Architect:

Saffet Kaya Bekiroglu


Project Team:

Sara Sheikh Akbari

Shiqi Li

Phil Soo Kim

Marc Boles

Yelda Gin

Liat Muller

Deniz Manisali

Lillie Liu

Jose Lemos

Simone Fuchs

Jose Ramon Tramoyeres

Yu Du

Tahmina Parvin

Erhan Patat

Fadi Mansour

Jaime Bartolome

Josef Glas

Michael Grau

Deepti Zachariah

Ceyhun Baskin

Daniel Widrig

Murat Mutlu


Photographed by Hufton + Crow, Hélène Binet, Iwan Baan


All images courtesy of Zaha Hadid and the photographers

Facts about Heydar Aliyev Center



"Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society."


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