Signature curves define Zaha Hadid-designed arts center
Those familiar with Zaha Hadid Architects' body of work should have no trouble recognizing its late founder's signature style in the Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Arts Centre. First conceived back in 2011, the project is now finally complete and hosting its first exhibit.
The Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Arts Centre is split into three separate buildings that are arranged around pedestrian routes that crisscross the site. With its fluid white glass fiber-reinforced concrete facade contrasting with expansive glazing, the design brings to mind Hadid's brilliant (and controversial) Aliyev Center.
The center's three buildings contain a contemporary art museum, a large theater, and a small theater, respectively. The art museum includes eight galleries which are centered around an impressive skylit atrium that can be used to host major installations and events. Elsewhere in the art museum lie community workshops, a lecture theater, a cafe and a store. Its first exhibition is currently ongoing and is by MOTSE, a collective of 40 scientists and artists from Shenzhen.
The large theater, which seats 1,800, has a stunning wooden interior. There are also lobbies, bars, and hospitality suites, as well as the rehearsal studios and other backstage facilities required to run a theater. The smaller secondary theater is a more modest 500-seat multipurpose hall that can be used to host fashion shows and music performances, for example.
2019 has been a big year for Zaha Hadid Architects in China, and in addition to the Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Arts Centre, the firm has completed Beijing's Daxing International Airport and Leeza Soho, plus a new luxury hotel in its Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre.
Source: Zaha Hadid Architects
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Regarding the other, elegant, refined restraint is written all over Hadid's work. Every curve terminates at just the right point. Every sweeping form arcing to the sky sweeps back down to the ground at just the right instant that it needs to be grounded. I hate to be sexist, (I am a man), but I believe only a woman can create fluid, restrained architecture like this. Frank Gehry has tried, but most of his attempts to do so look like trash heaps Her buildings invite you in and comfort you. They define huge civic volumes that suggest power and strength but provide an intimacy that a box just can't give.
The world is a better place for her presence. Every time I look at one of her buildings, I get a shiver inside and a big smile for having done so. Her work is alive with energy. How I wish she could have lived to finish this remarkable career.