DLD 2013: creative leadership award goes to architect Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, renowned for her distinctly futuristic designs, urges Europe to ‘go a bit wild’ with its buildings

“How many of you are creative?” asked John Maeda of the Rhode Island School of Design at a DLD13 conference session on Tuesday. “How many of you are leaders? And how many of you are creative leaders?”

Creative people don’t think of themselves as leaders, yet during times of transition and when things need to change, creative people are not afraid to take on challenges, to disrupt and to make things. His point was to introduce architect Zaha Hadid, who took the stage at DLD to receive the Aenne Burda award for creative leadership.

Hadid’s architectural partner Patrik Schumacher explained the patterns that formed their unique style. In 1975 – a critical period for architecture – modernism was rejected in place of nostalgic historical references, and formalism. Hadid recalls being told by one tutor that she was “obsessed with geometry” in a tone that was far from complimentary, but praised its forces on ideas and conceptualisation.

“The assumption was that modernism was too abstract, and there were those that wanted to radicalise abstraction,” said Schumacher, adding that Hadid was drawn to the Russian avant-garde, but also to nature. “It was a certain radicalised, digitised nature, the ability to pick up on natural analogies using algorithms to generate form. It brought organic forms into the domain of sophistication through digital tools.”

Hadid travels to Beijing every six months and has relished being part of a landscape that has embraced such radical change so quickly. But in Europe, the climate is more restrained. “Across Germany, they need to go a bit wild. I don’t mean in any way that Germans are uptight, but for a long time in Europe they thought there is only one kind of order and one kind of rationale that would overrule everything,” she said.

German cities, she said, need to move away from one typology; one commission in Dusseldorf endured a painstaking approval process because planners had to measure every triangle. “They thought a triangle was a waste of space, and not rational,” said Hadid.

Source : The Guardian

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