Reflective Essay

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The past decade was turbulent for design and architecture, and there are many schools of architecture coming up every other day. Moreover, there are many upcoming, talented and creative architects from all around the world. Among the most talented architects of nowadays is Zaha Hadid, a very talented woman who continues to shine in the male dominated field. Hadid’s roots come from Baghdad and she was born to a very rich family in 1950. Between 1968 and 1971, she was undertaking mathematics at the American University of Beirut. She then continued her studies between 1972 and 1977 at the Architectural Association School (AA School) in London. After she completed her architectural studies, she joined the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, but later began her own career as an architectural designer based in London.

Her work entailed all fields of designing starting from urban scale to micro-space designs. She focuses on researching, teaching, and practicing while still putting modernization into consideration. From the beginning of her career, she reworked the concept of organizing the public space with deep concern for art. This is probably because she likes painting (Schumacher 15). The main idea that comes across from her work and designs is that her controversial designs evolve from her personal and unique interpretations of various experiments carried out in Russia by the earlier Supremacists, which appears as antigravity design or architecture.

In Singapore Biennale, Hadid’s design reveals the feature of an organic shape, which floats in the whole of exhibition space in the form of a ghost appearing in St. Joseph Catholic Boy School old building. In the void area, the ‘ghosts’ turns its direction and stops flowing. This is visible from the front yard where the design takes a shape of a giant flower, which is blooming and seems to greet everyone visiting the exhibition area. In other void areas, the shapes seem to be standing up pointing and facing the sky in the shape of fingers pointing up. Looking at the design critically, one sees the vertical and horizontal shape of the design, which seems to be playing. When looked from the interior of the building, it flows like water and wind, but this stops and turns vertical when it appears in an open space (Conway & Roenisch 50).

The other interesting feature of her designs is the way she puts the accent. The accent is usually captivating, like it is screaming, interrupting and shocking. For instance, the inside of the gallery shape seems to make a cross-border going through the physical partition like its attempting to break through the concept of modern space. The other interesting thing about Hadid is the way she chooses her structural materials (Gannon 50). She is always thriving to bring across the ‘out of the box’ concept by choosing uncommon materials for her outdoor designs. She usually uses foam and then coats it with special ingredients to guard it from weather impacts. In addition, she uses color to texture her installations.

The London Aquatic Centre is another of Hadid’s designs that reflects her style of creating space. The concept is inspired by the fluid geometries of motion in water and the surrounding environment. Therefore, the undulating roof sweeps up in a wave from the ground and enclose the pools with a unifying gesture of fluidity.

Daniel Libeskind is a Polish American architect, well known for introducing emotions and complex ideas into his designs. Initially, Libeskind studied music and acquired a scholarship to study music in New York. However, he changed his artistic aims and decided to study architecture on arrival in New York. His buildings mainly comprise of cityscape with the outstanding and bold shapes and unconventional materials. Inside his buildings, viewers come across sloping floors, series of folding and unfolding and dead ends.

Libeskind puts a lot of emphasis on language used on architecture. He explains that architecture is a public art, and a part of the art is language. He explains the importance of language saying that language communicates to people and this is the first thing about architecture. Libeskind designed the spiral additions on Albert and Victoria Museum in London, and his buildings stand out in material and shape, consequently it makes it unique. Many people get angry that the buildings are so different, but this defines his art and innovation in the field of architecture. These innovations have led him to win many awards in architecture, which in turn enabled him to start up his own firm in Berlin. Currently, he is one of the most sought after architecture in the world (Libeskind 60).

Libeskind and Hadid have many things in common in the field of architecture. Both of them are driven by innovations and being different from other architects. Hadid, on one hand, is known for using unconventional materials on her designs and using color to captivate her viewers. Libeskind, on the other hand, develops very different designs from the conventional ones that people sometimes end up with disappointments, especially the people who do not understand the ideas and the new concepts of architecture. The spiral extensions designed by Libeskind on Victoria and Museum in London is a representation of the new awareness arts, crafts, technology and museology employed by Libeskind to make his designs appealing. The extension is a unique structure and not a conventional spiral with single axis and centre, rather it is a contemporary spiral, which opens several directions, and providing many routes, ambiance, space and different trajectories.

The other amazing design by Libeskind is the One World Trade Center, the mammoth skyscraper replacing the twin towers destroyed by terrorists on the 11 September attacks. The skyscraper is a magnificent piece of work that continues attracting a lot of public attention and visitors from all around the globe. Most of the materials used in the construction of the skyscrapers are not conventional and it is one of the world’s greenest buildings. Most of the materials used in the construction of the building are recycled from postindustrial materials.

It is also important to note that there are several differences in the nature of Hadid and Libeskind’s works. Hadid pays a lot of attention on public space and defying the law of gravity (Schumacher 22). She takes her time to research on her designs, put the ideas on paper and then actualize them. Libeskind, on the other hand, pays more attention to sloping floors, series of folding and unfolding and dead ends as mentioned above, which makes the design unique.

Conclusively, Hadid has been an influential architect across the world, especially in London, considering that she was born in Baghdad Iraq. Her work brings into perspective how being unique, but retaining the modern touch on architecture can be a key in attaining a successful career. She makes use of unique and unconventional materials and colors to make the buildings more captivating. She makes her story inspiring enough for the women working in the industry, which is mostly male dominated. She is able to compete with the male counterparts who continue dominating the industry, and won several tenders to design some of the world’s famous buildings. One of them is the Olympic Aquatic Centre, which though criticized for some design flaws, is an amazing piece of art. Unlike Libeskind’s work, which in some cases ends up disappointing viewers due to being overly different, Hadid’s work is always appealing. 

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