Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid keeps confronting viewers and users with precisely these kinds of possibilities: floating buildings, volumes that appear calligraphy in a yet undeciphered language, perspectives, paths of light, spaces of a geometry that seems more related to quantum mechanics than to Euclid. Something new is articulated here. This is the disciplining of chaos through the power of lightness: it is sensation gone beyond the sensational so as to envisage a new world.



31 Oct 1950 – 31 March 2016

Even just Zaha’s very presence is architecture.
It was not just her unswervingly individual stance, but above all her special empathy, loyalty, and warmth as a friend that underlay the decades-long connection between us, the loss of which I cannot bring myself to believe.

In any case: she seems entirely infused with architecture in whatever she does: her unique personal presence defines spaces in the same manner in which she gives rise to a radical new quality. This all-encompassing mutual incorporation of historically rooted sensual intuition and clearly conceptualized form charges everything she does with a special eroticism, though she never loses her anchoring in professional competence, no matter how radical and uncompromising her aspirations.

In 1992, years before the Vienna Architecture Conference entitled “The End of Architecture?”, fortune favored me with the opportunity to get to know her. At that point, she did not yet have any commissions, but she already did have an outstanding program for which she fought mercilessly.

The world has grown poorer—one of the great, irreplaceable innovators of architecture has left us.

—Peter Noever
April 2016 

Peter Noever on Zaha Hadid - Kulturmontag 4.4.2016, ORF

Zaha Hadid in Vienna & Los Angeles

Exhibition “ZAHA HADID. Architecture / Ice-Storm”

Exhibition at MAK, Vienna, 2003
Exhibition: Zaha Hadid, Peter Noever

Exhibition Team: Martina Kandeler-Fritsch, Patrik Schumacher, Woody K. T. Yao, Thomas Vietzke, Rocio Paz, Tiago Correia, Adriano de Gioannis, Rüdiger Andorfer, Michael Wallraff

The publication (edited by Peter Noever and published by Hatje Cantz, Germany) features numerous, mostly colored illustrations, including design drawings, models and – hitherto largely unpublished – “major paintings” by Zaha Hadid, as well as photographs built or under construction, providing a fundamental insight into all stages of the project development, from the abstract concept to the blue print and its constructional implementation.
One special feature of this publication is the documentation of the “Ice-Storm” installation developed especially for the MAK exhibition – a “spatial experiment” covering a floor space of 300m2 with eight tons in weight and seven meters in height that provides the public with an opportunity to get an active feel for Hadid’s radically new language of shape and space.
With contributions by Peter Noever, Patrik Schumacher, and Andreas Ruby. 

“[…] a comprehensive retrospective of Hadid’s work opened last month at the MAK in Vienna. Easily the most visually sumptuous architecture show to be seen anywhere in years, the exhibition puts the spotlight on a cluster of Hadid’s recently completed buildings and other projects now moving toward construction.”

Herbert Muschamp, in: The New York Times, New York, June 8, 2003


Vienna architecture conference, 1992. Initiator, percept and editor of the publications with the same title: Peter Noever

Participants: Lebbeus Woods (center), Helmut Swizcinsky and Wolf D. Prix (not in picture) Coop Himmelb(l)au, Frank Werner (moderator), Aleksandra Wagner-Woods (background), Peter Noever, Zaha Hadid, Daniela Zyman (documentation), Patrik Schumacher, Carme Pinós, Thom Mayne (morphosis), Steven Holl (covered), Eric Owen Moss

The end of architecture?
The end of experimentation,
of grand designs? 

What is the role of contemporary architecture in our increasingly complex society? What relation does it have to history, to tradition? What architectural programs or urban concepts can meet the demands of our age?

Publication on the conference

With a foreword by Frank O. Gehry, this publication captures and preserves these thought-provoking statements and discussions.

Another Beginning
Zaha Hadid

(from: “The end of architecture?”, Prestel, 1993)

[…] Where does this leave committed architects who are not willing to accept the end of architecture after all? If they are compelling enough to reach the status of “artists” within this system, they might still be able to expand the architectural vocabulary and explore new ways of translating complex programs into meaningful, three-dimensional compositons […]

[…] The masses have to become once more the client of architecture. But these cannot be the culturally excluded masses of today’s increasingly divided society; in this society, the architect still needs to hope for an enlightened patron. […]

Between Deconstruction and New Modernism /
Neun Positionen zum Dekonstruktivismus

Architects with an international reputation where invited by Peter Noever/MAK Vienna to give lectures that would illustrate in words and in works the broad spectrum and the potential of deconstructivism as a new direction. The collected lectured are published here for the first time.

Coop Himmel(b)lau, Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Morphosis, Jean Novel, Michael Sorkin, Bernard Tschumi, Lebbeus Woods – with an epilogue by Philip Johnson 

Edited by Peter Noever / Assisted by Regina Haslinger
Published by Prestel, Munich, 1991

Recent Work
Zaha Hadid

(from: “Architecture in Transition”, Prestel, 1991)

[…] I visited the site before the Frank Gehry building was erected. There was a new building just being put up, so the site was made of enormous pieces. It had no coherent structure; there was no way of typing it together. I felt if we really followed the program strictly and put the fire station here and bicycle-shed there, it would be very diffictult to make sense of the whole thing. So we did a study of the landscape, as it was imperative to me to really understand how to make a space of this no-man’s no-space. I decided to concentrate all my energies on one zone. […]

Visionary Clients for New Architecture

Prestel, Munich, 2000; Edited by Peter Noever; Authors: Frederick Samitaur Smith, Thomas Krens, Rolf Fehlbaum; Essay by Joseph Rykwert; Comments by Philip Johnson

Instead of architect’s talking about their designs, this volume puts clients in the spotlight—namely Frederick Samitaur Smith, responsible for the renewal of Culver City, Los Angeles, Thomas Krens, the Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Rolf Fehlbaum, the Director of the Vitra company, Weil am Rhein and Basle. It sheds light the tricky balance of power between the architect and the client, focusing on these three visionaries who commissioned buildings which later turned into architectural icons of the 20th century.

The Construction of a Place: Building with Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank O. Gehry, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, and Alvaro Siza Viera
Rolf Fehlbaum

(from: “Visionary Clients for New Architecture”, Prestel, 2000)

[…] It was Zaha Hadid’s first builing. It provided us with an opportunity to analyze the site with her. None of the other architects concerned themselves so intensively with the site and its relationship to the surrounding landscape. In hundreds of drawings and studies design ideas for the fire station were related to the lines of the landscape, the roads and the railroad tracks, the field formations and existing buildings. The fire station was to serve not only the fire brigade, but also to impart a recognizable shape to the site. The building is located at the end of the main axis crossing the company grounds, where the Vitra site meets the city of Weil, which unfortunately does not present itself too well here from an architectural point of view. Zaha did not simply situate her long building parallel to the main axis, but shifted the latter towards the end and juxtaposed the parts of her building in such a way that the emphasize the edge of the company site. At the same time the building serves protective function against the outside world, thus helping to define the place. […]

[…] Building with architects who would never have built here if ith had not been for Vitra and with elements not indigenous to this region has been important in order to define this specific place and build an identity of our own. […]

Special projects by selected international architects, exhibition and publication, initiated and edited, exhibition and publication, initiated and edited by Peter Noever

2003, Hatje Cantz, Los Angeles / Ostfilden, Germany

Contributions by 27 artists and Gabriel Ramin Schor und Slavoj Žižek
2004, Aedes, Berlin, ed. Peter Noever

Joseph Giovannini, Zaha Hadid, Peter Noever. London, 4 February 2016 (Photo: Cathy Leff)
Joseph Giovannini, Zaha Hadid, Peter Noever. London, 4 February 2016 (Photo: Cathy Leff)