What a month for Zaha Hadid. First she celebrated the grand opening of Galaxy Soho in Beijing, then was declared one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year 2012, and next weekend will be the official press preview of her extraordinary Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, Michigan. The two projects are both intrinsically ‘Zaha’ and yet display opposing elements of the architect’s style.
The Galaxy Soho project - a 330,000 sq m commercial complex comprised of office, retail and entertainment outlets - is defined by its rolling swathes of stone encased in aluminium cladding and insulated glass. Its effortlessly elegant form waves like a ribbon in the breeze in a smooth movement that we have come to expect from Hadid’s architecture.
In direct contrast, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum cuts a sharp silhouette with keen ridges across its asymmetrical form. No curving edges here, just slanting strokes in parallel lines, intersected with more of the same. A full report on the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will be published in next week’s News Review (13 November 2012) following the press preview this coming weekend.
Construction on the Galaxy Soho development was 30 months beginning to end, with the 67m-high concrete construction flowing in bounds across the site in an organic expression of Beijing’s vibrant city life. The complex is comprised of four separate buildings set apart, fused or linked with a series of skybridges.
In an interview with Glamour Magazine which celebrated Hadid’s achievements in the industry by naming her one of its Women of the Year 2012, she referenced ‘rivers, dunes…the fluid landscape of the Middle East’ as direct inspiration for her architectural projects and this can clearly be noted in this most recent of schemes.
The bands of aluminium which wrap the Galaxy Soho development and the webbed skybridges that link the key volumes could be attributed to the organic movement of sand in the deserts of the Middle East. There are also local references at play, as Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) details: “The great interior courts of the project are a reflection of traditional Chinese architecture where courtyards create an internal world of continuous open spaces.
“Here, the architecture is no longer composed of rigid blocks, but instead comprised of volumes which coalesce to create a world of continuous mutual adaptation and fluid movement between each building.”
Hadid’s architecture is not only recognisable but lends a certain prestige to a new development which usually leads to financial gain. All of the commercials units at the Galaxy Soho development sold out in 2011. With a LEED Silver rating and vast quantities of natural light, this 18-floor complex is highly attractive to clients in Beijing and if the 15,000-strong opening ceremony is anything to go by, Galaxy Soho is destined to be a very successful scheme indeed.
Galaxy SohoEli and Edythe Broad Art Museum