The world loses one
more great artist, this time
a bold architect
The great Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid has passed away at 65. Being a fan of architecture, and seeing the Japanese link through her fallen-through plans for the Olympic stadium in Tokyo, I thought I’d mention her here. I read an article once about her personal style choices which were as expensive and sculptured as her projects. She certainly seemed like an interesting woman and has to be a great role model for women in the world of architecture, whatever country they may originally be from.
I haven’t seen too many of her buildings to be honest. Japanese authorities eventually scrapped her Olympic Stadium project which made waves for its sleek cover that resembled a bicycle helmet. Well that’s the kindest comparison and I think it’s nicer to think of a bicycle helmet given the sports connection!! The other one is a very female-specific comparison. Look it up and you’ll see for yourself. It did look a bit ridiculous whatever it was compared to. In any case, the whole project was scrapped after copyright problems between the architect and project commissioners and then much debate among other architects and general derision from the public. I think Japan, Olympics or not, should be spending money on vital things** and or renovate places they already have available. Tokyo is not exactly swimming in free space!! The swimming comparison is a reference to another comparison made by a famous Japanese architect.
Construction projects in other countries have been subject to even more serious controversy, non-compensated evictions of residents, flattening of old neighbourhoods and slave labour (possibly including children). Her company, Zaha Hadid Architects, has also been removed from other projects, in the UK at least, for one reason or another. Maybe financial or aesthetic or maybe she was too strong a personality for the people commissioning the projects. I only mention the negative points to show that all geniuses have their detractors but of course people who protested against the above controversies were absolutely right to protest especially where human rights are concerned and perhaps the extent of power an architect holds over a project is not so well-defined.
** Hint hint: Apart from obviously vital things they could maybe extend the brand new and recently opened Tokyo to Hokkaido shinkansen line (Tokyo, via Aomori, to Hakodate) further up to Sapporo well before 2030 the year they do plan to have it extended by. It would spur people on to visit Hokkaido more, sparing the trouble of getting to the airport for domestic flights, and I’d personally appreciate it. Seeing a photo of the grand opening in Tokyo of this new line, I thought the shinkansen looked appropriately sea-life like, almost what you’d see in a cartoon.