When looking at photographs, I usually want to be told what is in front of my eyes and by this I do of course not mean that when a photo shows a dog that I need to be told that I'm looking at a dog. In other words, when it is obvious what the photograph shows, no explanation is needed.
In regards to Zaha Hadid's projects and buildings I'm perfectly able to enjoy what my eyes are showing me without extended commentary from architects or knowledgeable art historians. This is however not to say that the informed words that Philip Jodidio contributed to this remarkable tome should not be paid attention to - quite the contrary.
Zaha Hadid graduated in 1977 from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and founded Zaha Hadid Architects in 1979. In 2004, she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The blurb of HADID: Complete Works 1979-2013 describes her as "a wildly controversial architect whose work remained largely unbuilt for years, despite awards and critical acclaim." The volume shows buildings, furniture, and interior designs with in-depth texts, spectacular photos, and her own drawings.
Looking at these photographs I again and again felt like exclaiming: Wow, this is just great, unbelievable, incredible, stunning! Without pause, I marvel at these forms, designs, and contours. And as satisfying as it must be to find oneself inside the completed buildings, I have the hunch that it might probably feel even more special to look at them from the outside.
Today, Zaha Hadid Architects is a 300-strong office. I was surprised to learn that despite the fact that since the very beginning of her career she had been widely respected (she taught at the most illustrious universities) only very few were prepared to give her the chance to actually build. "Indeed, until a recent date, her built work might have been considered decidedly scarce by the standards of world-class architects. The first patron for one of he built works was Rolf Fehlbaum, chief executive officer of the furniture company Vitra" for whom she completed the Vitra Fire Station.
Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University © ZHA
HADID: Complete Works 1979-2013 demonstrates impressively how Zaha Hadid, as editor Philip Jodidio puts it, "has architecture set free". There is nothing to add to that - simply enjoy the visual pleasure that this extraordinary work is offering!
Complete Works 1979-2013
Taschen, Cologne 2013