10 Must-See Buildings: Zaha Hadid

Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid was a true visionary. Her cutting-edge, contemporary designs made her one of the most celebrated architects in the world. Having commissioned her first major project in 1990, the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, Hadid went on to design numerous buildings around the globe that earned her international recognition within the architect community. Below is a collection of ten of Hadid’s most striking and revolutionary works that every architect lover should know.

1. The Heydar Aliyev Center, Azerbaijan

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku is quintessentially Hadid. With its curved and smooth exterior, this building stands in stark contrast to the harsh, angular Soviet architecture popular in Baku. Having won the Design of the Year Award in 2014, the extravagant Heydar Aliyev Centre was built to enhance the intellectual life of the city, and contains a museum, conference hall and gallery.

2. The Jockey Club Innovation Tower, China

The Jockey Club Innovation Tower in Hong Kong was completed in 2013, and houses the Hong Kong Polytechnic (PolyU) School of Design, and the Jockey Club Institute for Social Innovation. With 15,000 meters squared of floor space, this building provides a new, urban feature to the college campus. Catering for 1,800 students and staff, its facilities include design studios and exhibition spaces.

3. Dongdaemun Design Plaza, South Korea

The neo-futuristic design of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza makes it a landmark in the city of Seoul. Situated in the historic district of the city, it serves as a multi-functional cultural hub packed full of exhibition halls, a media center and design museum. Its powerful, flowing forms and long, sweeping curves make it a trademark Hadid design.

4. Antwerp Port House, Belgium

The juxtaposition of old and new at The Antwerp Port House is a sight to behold, and is said to be one of Hadid’s most ambitious designs. Triangular glass panes jut out from the more traditional bricks and mortar below. Designed for the Antwerp Port Authority, the new part of the building extends out and above from what was once a derelict fire station and now caters for 500 staff. 

5. Glasgow Riverside Museum, Scotland

Situated by the River Clyde, the zinc-clad jagged exterior of the Glasgow Riverside Museum mimics the rippling movements of the nearby water, while its large glass front allows light to travel through the building. The museum itself is now one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions, and won the Museum of the Year award in 2013.  

6. Capital Hill Residence, Russia

The Capital Hill Residence is nestled amongst 20 meter high trees in the Barvikha Forest in Moscow, Russia. Made up of two distinct geometric segments, one following the flow of the hillside and the other standing 22 meters above the ground, this private home commands breath-taking views of the forest below. Its interior is as impressive as its exterior, housing an indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness suite.  

7. Guangzhou Opera House, China 

The Guangzhou Opera House in China is suitably theatrical in design, and sits near the famous Pearl River with its promenade enabling access to the riverside and docklands. Built from glass, steel and concrete, its twin boulder design houses a main auditorium with the capacity to seat 1,804 people, and a smaller 400-seat multi-functional space.

8. Sky SOHO, China 

The Sky SOHO building is a landmark on the Yangtze River in Shanghai, China. A mix of office and retail space across 342,500 meters squared, Sky SOHO was completed in 2014 and is comprised of twelve stand-alone buildings that are connected by sixteen ‘sky bridges’, and is said to resemble four speeding bullet trains.

9. London Aquatics Center, England 

The London Aquatics Center hosted the swimming events in the London 2012 Olympic games, and is now open for general public use. Inspired by the fluidity of water, the building’s smooth flowing roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave, and houses two 50 meter swimming pools and a 25 meter diving pool.

10. Wangjing Soho, China 

Opened in 2014, Wangjing Soho in Beijing is made up of three mixed-use towers, with the tallest standing at 200m high. Designed to resemble three intertwining mountains, the development is renowned for looking spectacular from the air when flying into Beijing airport.

Fran Whittaker-Wood
Home Improvements Expert

Fran loves all things home. She is passionate about finding the best architecture, design and home interior projects from around the world, and has a keen interest in discovering the newest and most exciting design trends.