Essay on Zaha Hadid: Making Utopia a Reality in Architecture

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"Utopia: n .an impractical idealistic scheme for social and political reform" - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

For over twenty years the Iraqi-born, English educated architect Zaha Hadid has symbolized the vanguard of contemporary architecture. She has pushed back the boundaries of built form to forge a highly individualist architectonic language that is at once thrillingly dynamic and intensely thoughtful, and as a result now has an enormous following of students, practitioners and builders. Most people recognize her hand through the striking drawings and paintings that represent her work, but the beauty of her illustrations tend to obscure the fact that she is an architect who builds, due to
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In her designs she tries to break away from the vitruvian prepositions that govern the normal, conventional architecture that is being used today.

Fortunately for her she has been able to showcase some of these ideas as can be seen in her first built project which is the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The project began as a commission to build a fire station in the northeast section of the vast Vitra furniture factory complex as well as design boundary walls, a bicycle shed and other small elements. In this relatively small structure she used unusual shapes and angles that architectural critics had admired in her conceptual work throughout the 1980s. Since the site already contained large-scale factory buildings, she decided to concentrate on the site as a zone within the industrial landscape so as to place the elements of the building in such a way that they would not get lost between the enormous factory sheds. As can be expected the inside of the building is as interesting as the exterior with multiple optical tricks being played on the viewer. The design's primary feature is a series of layered screening walls, between which spaces are created according to the station's functions. Her interplay of angles and colors makes the interior as visually interesting as the exterior without making it look too busy. One of the most noticeable features of this building is how glimpses of the large red fire engines can be
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