Foundation research

The Zaha Hadid Foundation’s inaugural exhibition explores the late architect’s radical reinventions in London

Timed to coincide with the London Architecture Festival, the Zaha Hadid Foundation (ZHF) has announced that she will be staging her very first exhibition… and it is one that, most appropriately, dives deep into the “radical reinventions” envisioned by the late Iraqi-British Pritzker Prize-winning architect for her longtime home in London.

Opening on June 8, the free exhibition and in particular organized by students, entitled Zaha Hadid: reinventing London, will be held at the former headquarters of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in a former Victorian school building on Bowling Green Lane in Clerkenwell, central London. As announced at the full official launch of the ZHF last March, the physical footprint of the foundation, which will eventually oversee a permanent museum, gallery, center of learning, research center and think tank, will be divided between two bricks and mortar sites: the former offices of the ZHA where the inaugural exhibition will be presented (the firm decamped last summer due to difficulties converting the historic building into a post-pandemic workplace) and the former Design Museum space in a converted banana ripening warehouse on Shad Thames which Hadid had bought in 2013.

location aside, Zaha Hadid: reinventing London features a deep, deep dive into the foundation archives and collections to discover a wealth of ‘rare and unseen’ works, including Hadid’s personal sketchbooks, from her over four decades of practice – a prolific and highly decorated career spanning architecture, art and design. design that was devastatingly cut short when he died in March 2016 while in Miami. Hadid was 65 at the time of his death.

Zaha Hadid, 19th Century Museum, Exploded Axonometry (Public Landscape)1977–78 (© Zaha Hadid Foundation)

As noted in a press release announcing the inaugural exhibition, although Baghdad-born Hadid lived and worked in London for decades after arriving in the British capital in 1972 to study at the Architectural Association, few projects Londoners designed by his eponymous firm during his lifetime were never made. “And yet, since her student days, Hadid has been deeply inspired by the complex cityscape of London,” the statement read. “This exhibition brings together for the first time his visions of London.”

A variety of media, including paintings, drawings, collages and models, are on display which “reveal his distinctive thought process and innovative design methods, exemplified in projects ranging from utopian imaginations to competition entries and finished buildings”. The centerpiece is London 2066, a large-scale painting created in 1991 that imagines what London would look like in 75 years. Through Hadid’s singular vision, the city is “stretched eastward and its arteries flow in new directions”. As stated in the exhibition announcement, this “eastward expansion of the metropolis” is being carried out at the London Aquatics Centre, designed by Hadid in 2004 and built for the 2012 Olympics as one of his modest projects. made in the city.

Zaha Hadid: reinventing London is, as mentioned, organized by a team of students from the Courtauld Institute of Art Masters Program, Art Museum Outfit. (The Courtauld is an independent college of the University of London.) “Our aim is to facilitate the work of architects, designers, artists, academics and the general public, in order to advance knowledge in the creative sector” , explained ZHF. Director Paul Greenhalgh in a statement. “This exhibition by Courtauld Masters in Curatorial students is the first in a series of creative collaborations with educational partners.”

an abstract painting by zaha hadid
Zaha Hadid with Zaha Hadid Architects, London 2066, Vogue magazine (UK), 1991 (© Zaha Hadid Foundation)

A series of live events will accompany the exhibition, including a panel discussion, a discussion with architect Nigel Coats and a “late night opening” organized on June 10 in collaboration with the London Festival of Architecture (a recap complete of the month – a long list of city-wide festivities can be found here.) Zaha Hadid: reinventing London closes July 2; A plans to publish a review of the exhibition while it is in progress.

The ZHF was first established in 2013 by Hadid, but its full realization was significantly delayed both by his unexpected death and the messy legal wrangle over his estate that followed. The foundation’s founding purpose is to preserve and make available to the public “the full range of Zaha’s extraordinary productions” while “advancing research, learning, and enjoyment of related fields of architecture. , modern art and design”. Shortly after ZHF’s late full launch in March, the London School of Architecture announced a new comprehensive scholarship scheme for a total of three students from refugee or low-income backgrounds, potentially including students in architecture displaced by the war. -ravaged Ukraine. Funds for the scholarship program were made possible through a donation from ZHF.

Zaha Hadid: reinventing London
From June 8 to July 2, 2022

On view at the Zaha Hadid Foundation
10 Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0BQ
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Free entry