Architect Zaha Hadid’s spirited career and dynamic, groundbreaking architectural work continues to inspire around the world through Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). The newly opened Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism exhibition showcases the bold, explorative urbanism they’re known for through a variety of design strategies used to create vibrant and sustainable community-orientated spaces within densely populated urban spaces. You’ll view these innovations in architecture through a variety of documentation tools – from technical drawings and diagrams, computer-generated visualizations and architectural models, to video projections and virtual reality experiences.
Curated by ZHA, the exhibition is structured around three aspects of ZHA’s work: the research of their Computation & Design research group (ZHA CODE), exploring the designs for towers in cities worldwide, and showcasing their iconic projects within the region. Presented by Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) (Lee Wai Lee), together with the affiliated HKDI Gallery, Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism is their flagship exhibition of 2022, as well as part of their #EssenceofDesign program. It will be on exhibit at HKDI Gallery, and virtually, through April 3rd.
The experience begins with an overview of the ongoing research and development that happens within ZHA’s studio (ZHA CODE), oftentimes in collaboration with scientific institutions who focus on robotics, artificial intelligence, and digital fabrication. Through this process they’re able to build an understanding of local supply chains, materials, craftsmanship, and manufacturing on new construction. ZHA CODE then develops design and logistical strategies using technologies that ensure projects are sustainable, using as little material and energy as possible.
Near the entrance of the exhibition you’ll find The Peak project in Hong Kong. Hadid’s breakthrough project was never built, but it did win global attention and provided a look into her concepts, methodologies and experimentation within public spaces located in dense urban environments. Move further through Vertical Urbanism and you’ll see projects showcased through large-scale projection, revealing architectural models that highlight ZHA’s range of work through culture, sport, transport, campus, headquarters, and masterplan projects. The vertical urban architecture being created by ZHA provides experiential and communicative value. Another portion of the exhibition shares a selection of their renowned tower projects from around the world, examining the studio’s innovations in urban enhancement.
On a more local scale, the exhibition shares two award-winning projects: the Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams Macau and The Henderson tower to be completed in Central, Hong Kong. Opened in 2018, the 40-story Morpheus Hotel is the world’s first freeform highrise exoskeleton, designed as a vertical extrusion of the site’s existing abandoned foundations. The design of The Henderson reinterprets the structural forms and layering of a Bauhinia bud about to blossom. The building connects to nearby public gardens and parks that naturally flow into the communal spaces within the tower’s interior.
“We’re excited to collaborate with ZHA and present the Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism exhibition as part of HKDI’s interdisciplinary program,” said Dr. Lay Lian ONG, Principal of HKDI & IVE (Lee Wai Lee). “Zaha Hadid was a radical innovator who has left an imprint on modern architecture and design that will endure for many years to come. This exhibition celebrates the ingenuity of ZHA, showcasing the depth of experience of one of the most renowned architecture firms in the world. We hope that this exhibition will provide insight for students, and the public alike, into the stunning vision of one of the most important architects of our time.”
The gallery exhibition of Vertical Urbanism wraps up with a presentation of tall buildings that have been designed by ZHA over the past 15 years. Urban design strategies are highlighted – density, ground interface, bridges and atria, façade, and sustainability – that help facilitate a more sustainable and vibrant vertical urbanism. “The skyscraper seems locked in the bygone Fordist paradigm of segregating segmentation and serial repetition. The tower typology is the last bastion of this bygone era. The time is ripe to challenge the standard tower typology and demand that it too participates in the general societal restructuring from Fordism to Post-Fordism,” said Patrik Schumacher, Principal of ZHA.
Visit the immersive online exhibition and you’ll see how it builds upon the gallery’s offerings. Here, a wider global audience can access and journey through ZHA’s iconic projects while having the ability to zoom in on details of architectural models and experience other multimedia elements in their own space and time.
Speaking to the curatorial direction of the exhibition, Schumacher shared, “The agenda of communicative intensification within and between densely spaced high-rise structures, via the combined strategies of clustering, bridges and atria, will articulate a new paradigm for the design of high-rise urbanism. On this basis, the tower typology will receive a new lease of life in the central metropolitan societies, where the desire for connectivity drives urban density. In the future, even more than is evident already now, this super-dense build up will be a mixed-use build up, where multiple life-processes intersect. These life-processes need to be ordered in intricate ways that nevertheless remain legible and thereby empowering.”
As part of the program, a master lecture led by Schumacher and industry panel discussions will be offered online on March 24th. Tune in as architecture masters do a deep dive into vertical urbanism, and examine the agenda of tower typology that will restructure urban societies in the 21st century. The online exhibition of Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism is available to view here.