Not for the first time, an architect dies leaving unfinished work. It happened with Gaudí and his most marvellous creation, the Sagrada Família. Gaudí didn’t live to see it completed, and to tell the truth it isn’t clear whether we will either.
When Zaha Hadid, one of the world’s most respected and best-loved architects, died on 31 March 2016, she left behind a remarkable series of unfinished projects.
What made Hadid different was her incredible sense of plasticity. One such example, a building that features glass and metal chevrons with rounded corners and sinuous curves, embodies the vision of this remarkable architect. This is the as-yet unfinished building at 520 West 28th Street, Zaha Hadid’s first project in New York, originally scheduled for completion in 2017.
Another is Esfera City Center in Monterrey, Mexico. The promoters of this project had a very clear vision of what they wanted, but Hadid surprised them with a design for a complex of sinuous apartment buildings whose individual units were oriented to optimize daylight. The complex was to contain 981 housing units ranging in type from lofts to four-bedroomed apartments. Climate was a determining factor in the design of the complex and the building materials used.
In another project, the Grand Théâtre de Rabat, Morocco, water formed an integral part of the structure, which was to overlook the Bou Regreg River. Located between the cities of Rabat and Salé, the theatre was to have an area of 47,000 square metres comprising indoor seating, an open-air amphitheatre and a restaurant, among other facilities. The building’s most attractive feature was its crystalline geometry inspired by traditional Moroccan muquarnas.
Zaha Hadid also had plans for a spectacular project closer to home, in Bilbao, Spain. Sadly, this project never left the drawing board either. With floor space of 25,000 square metres and 22 storeys, it would have made a worthy rival to the Guggenheim Museum.