Friday, October 24, 2014

Urban China Update: Zaha Hadid on "Weird Architecture"- Mixing Tradition and Contemporary

In a presentation at USC, the renown architect Zaha Hadid responded to a query about what she thought about China's current movement against "weird architecture". The award winning designer, who, like Frank Gehry has literally taken architectural design out of the box, spoke about the importance of society to push research on materials and design and, at the same time, to find "new interpretations"  of tradition, specially referencing folklore  and "Chineseness".

She said she learned a lot when she went to China in the early 1980s, especially about gardens. Being one who is "anti-shrubbery", a failure of other architects to start using Zipatone dry transfer symbols of people and plants on drawings when they had no other thought for the use of space beyond their boxed buildings, she found the Mandarin gardens of Shanghai of great interest, especially their lake-eroded rocks and mazes where one returned on one's self.
Guangzhou Opera House, China

Liu Fang Yuan - Garden of Flowering Fragrance 

at the Huntington in San Marino CA

One can learn from tradition, added Ms. Hadad, but now major public buildings were not commissioned by aristocracy and had no need to be fortified. The buildings -- such as civic centers, auditoria, stadia, libraries, universities, etc. are for the public domain. She credits Frank Gehry's design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbau as important as it enabled that type of building to be situated in a historic context.

Her associate Patrik Schumacher also added comments about the "social intelligence" and "social rationality" of their process of research-based designs as a "necessary investment" to promote open, transparent environments.