Culture / Design

Architectural Legacies – Zaha Hadid and Will Alsop (Part 1)

The monumental achievements of these revered architects continue to reshape the face of architecture and design, as these posthumous legacies attest.

Aug 12, 2019 | By Joe Lim

Architecture shapes our world in big and subtle ways – architectural masterminds at the forefront of the world’s most imaginative and groundbreaking projects changing the skylines and transforming cities for a better future for their inhabitants. Many of the industry giants’ lofty ambitions and philosophies often extend beyond their creators’ lifelines, inspiring admirers and imitators long after the trailblazers of innovative thought had passed on. With recent years seeing more than a few obituaries of some of the world’s most remarkable architects, the larger legacy of their philosophies continues to live on in the posthumous works carried on by their firms and successors. We take a look at the legacies of some of these notable visionaries who continue to shape the world built around us. In our first part, we look at the architectural wonders left behind – Zaha Hadid and Will Alsop.

Windcatcher roof of KAPSARC, Photography by Hufton+Crow

The bold, remarkable and unmistakable aesthetic of the “Queen of the Curve” Zaha Hadid has transformed the world with the increasing intricacy of her parametrically driven designs, which only grew more and more ambitious with the advancements of technology, modelling and building software over the years.

Port House Antwerp exterior, photography Tim Fisher

After Hadid’s untimely passing in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects continues the style of parametricism, coined by Hadid’s successor Patrick Schumacher, in the new architectural projects, including Beijing airport’s new terminal building, Rabat Grand Theatre, The Opus (Hadid’s first building in Dubai), as well as product, industrial, furniture and fashion design. Beyond opening the doors to female architects all over the world, not to mention the Middle East where Hadid is originally from, Hadid’s philosophy lives on in the current practice’s focus on advanced engineering and fabrication research that pushes the boundaries of architectural possibilities. Her work, always marked by excitement, continues to walk the line of a remarkable blend of ephemeral organic beauty and high-tech virtuosity, unparalleled to this day by anyone else. Read about Zaha Hadid’s other project here.

Avant-garde architect and artist Will Alsop, who passed away unexpectedly in 2018, was known for surreal projects in which fun and whimsy were always the common denominators. Although sometimes met with backlash, Alsop’s brand of fearless architecture garnered him large-scale commissions and international acclaim, earning him a Stirling Prize for London’s Peckham library in the early 2000’s.

OCAD facade, photo by Richard Johnson

With his loud, humorous style and his penchant for Pop Art, Alsop showed his contemporaries that meaningful architecture does not need to always be serious; his projects such as the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre and Sharp Centre for Design at Ontario College of Art and Design exemplify his spirit to the fullest. Since the architect’s passing, Alsop’s studio aLL Design continues Alsop’s philosophy of “making life better”.

Pioneer Village Station, photo by Wade Zimmerman

Much like Alsop was a jack-of-many-trades, the studio embraces collaborative design and innovation through communal exchanges of ideas and the spirit of Alsop lives on: the recently completed Pioneer Village, in collaboration with The Spadina Group Associates, made it on the World Architecture Festival 2018’s award shortlist, reminding that memorable architecture does not have to be straight-faced to be successful.

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