Increasingly, female architects are featuring strongly in designing award-winning edifices throughout the world, and the latest of these – reported in World Architecture News recently – is Zaha Hadid, of London-based practice Zaha Hadid Architects.

What a month November has been for her! First she celebrated the grand opening of Galaxy Soho in Beijing, then was declared one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year 2012, followed by the official press preview of her extraordinary Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, Michigan. The two projects are both intrinsically ‘Zaha’ and yet display opposing elements of the architect’s style.

The Galaxy Soho project – a 330 000m² commercial complex comprising office, retail and entertainment outlets – is defined by its rolling swathes of stone encased in aluminium cladding and insulated glass. Its effortlessly elegant form waves like a ribbon in the breeze in a smooth movement that is often expected from Hadid’s architecture.

In direct contrast, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum cuts a sharp silhouette with keen ridges across its asymmetrical form. No curving edges here, just slanting strokes in parallel lines, intersected with more of the same.

Construction on the Galaxy Soho development was 30 months beginning to end, with the 67m high concrete construction flowing in bounds across the site in an organic expression of Beijing’s vibrant city life. The complex is comprised of four separate buildings set apart, fused or linked with a series of sky bridges.

In an interview with Glamour Magazine which celebrated Hadid’s achievements in the industry by naming her one of its Women of the Year 2012, she referenced ‘rivers, dunes…the fluid landscape of the Middle East’ as direct inspiration for her architectural projects and this can clearly be noted in this most recent of schemes.

Hadid’s architecture is not only recognisable but lends a certain prestige to a new development which usually leads to financial gain. All of the commercials units at the Galaxy Soho development sold out in 2011. With a LEED Silver rating and vast quantities of natural light, this 18-floor complex is highly attractive to clients in Beijing and, if the 15,000-strong opening ceremony is anything to go by, Galaxy Soho is destined to be a very successful scheme indeed.

World Architecture News