While Zaha Hadid may no longer be with us, her designs, inspirations and unmistakable aesthetic live on. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) recently won the competition to build the Jinghe New City Culture & Art Centre in the north of Xi’an in China’s Shaanxi province.
Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China, and the Shaanxi province it resides in is known for not only being one of the cradles of Chinese civilisation but also its dramatic roiling vistas. This topography has been echoed within the design of the new City Culture & Art Centre with Hadid’s iconic organic flowing shapes slithering across the site echoing the meandering valleys carved by the Jinghe River through the mountains and landscapes of Shaanxi province. With gently sloping ramps providing a gateway to the district’s network of elevated public walkways, the centre weaves through the city to link its commercial and residential districts with the parks and river to the south. Ample space for Solar panels, natural ventilation and rainwater collection make the space incredibly self sufficient considering. Its construction will also prioritise locally-produced materials with a high recycled content to achieve a 3-star certification in China’s Green Building program.
During her life, Hadid blazed a path for herself few women have had the opportunity to make. Fiercely independent in her creations, her awards were not only the first to be won by a woman (the Pritzker Prize & Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects) but were done with zero help from a male partner to share the limelight with. The Iraqi born designer showed no interest in borders, taking her designs around the world from the MAXXI Museum in Rome loudly making its contemporary case among the historic architecture, all the way to the Guangzhou Opera House in China. In the past, her designs have been lambasted for not being eco-friendly, but it seems at least for this project by her studio she’s left behind, they’re doing their best to reconcile this image.