Parametricism | The Evolving Legacy Of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Architects continues to be an inspired, ambitious, at-the-top-of-its-game architectural studio, ready to grow and to take on more of the world’s architectural projects.

London is a creative industry and a cultural capital of the world. The people living there and all those passing through on a regular basis, turn London into a global and cosmopolitan society. It’s the diversity of people, the inspiring events such as “Frieze” or “Battle of Ideas” and institutions like the AA, Tate, RA, V&A or Barbican that set up the perfect context for one of the leading architectural firms in the world. Since the transition of its leader, Zaha Hadid Architects continues to be an inspired, ambitious, at-the-top-of-its-game architectural studio, ready to grow and to take on more of the world’s architectural projects. While maintaining the character of a creative boutique studio in many aspects, its team members participate in a global discourse with lectures and exhibitions. Zaha Hadid Architects is much more than just a business.

Mayfair by Zaha Hadid Architects, located in Melbourne, Australia

Zaha Hadid was a bold, driven and incredibly original artistic personality who delivered an unprecedented expansion of the discipline’s repertoire, offering new degrees of freedom to the designer. Her early work during the 80’s, was like a revelation. Her sketches, drawings and paintings delivered not only the shock of the new but at the same time displayed a virtuoso intricacy, sophistication and perfection that made them utterly compelling. There was nothing like this. The bounds of architectural possibilities had shifted. Architectural design gained a whole new dimension and level of excitement.

Today the architecture industry is in an interesting period of transition and its future trajectory remains undecided. The technological premises are clear enough. Robotic fabrication technologies are transforming construction. Algorithmic design, parametric modeling and BIM are changing the design process. However, the discipline is divided over whether this should also imply a radical stylistic transformation. At Zaha Hadid Architects we have been working on and promoting such a change under the heading of “parametricism” as the new candidate epochal style for the 21st century.

Leeza SOHO by Zaha Hadid Architects, located in the Lize Financial Business District in Beijing, China.

Like all viable styles, “parametricism” is a collective project and achievement of many brilliant, innovative protagonists. This style has opened a huge new creative universe, nearly comparable to the endless forms of nature. The new language that Zaha Hadid Architects is promoting allows maintaining a sense of order, legibility and nature-like beauty in the face of the new level of density, complexity and dynamics of contemporary urban life.

Zaha’s amazing legacy will continue to succeed if we continue to innovate. I joined Zaha when I was still a student in 1988. We evolved and developed the firm together in the last 25 years. The work has matured, but there have also always been new aspects and ideas that have entered the repertoire. I am currently pushing a new type of hollow high-rise building with a continuous internal mega-atrium that allows all the many users of such a building to remain aware of what is going on in its various parts. This Inter-awareness is an important aspect of a building’s vital communicative capacity.

Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects, located in Baku, Azerbaijan

I am also invested in research work trying to simulate the social interaction processes we should expect in complex buildings. I am thus trying to gain a firm handle on the social functionality of buildings. I am also invested in the development of a new approach and stage of “parametricism” which I call “tectonism” and which builds much more on advanced engineering and fabrication logics as drivers of stylistic expression than hitherto. This promises both further technical efficiency and further expressive versatility.

Moreover, we have recently opened new offices in New York, Mexico City and Dubai, while extending our offices in Beijing and Hong Kong. We have also entered the Australian market with some very strong propositions. We have also entered the aviation sector. Our design for the new Beijing airport is currently under construction. At the same time, we are keen to continue to give shape to major cultural venues such as the current construction of the Rabat Grand Theatre. I feel our future is bright and I feel our journey will bring us many more beautiful surprises.
Words Patrick Schumacher Principal At Zaha Hadid Architects
Photography Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects