Zaha Hadid Sackler Gallery in London

I have never been a great fan of Zaha Hadid's design, IMHO her best project is the first one realized, namely the Fire Station at the Vitra premises near Bern. Nevertheless I wrote an article on the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (you can see it here: ) and I eventually found this project quite more interesting that I expected. Aside the "hadid-style" entrance addition, the way she carefully approached the old gun-powder store surprised me, considering that she is not particularly famous for her "light"  dealing with historical architecture. What do you think of this project? Do you agree with me or did I blunder?

Jun 20, 14 3:55 pm
( o Y o )

case study noun

1. a process or record of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time.

2. a particular instance of something used or analyzed in order to illustrate a thesis or principle. "airline deregulation provides a case study of the effects of the internal market"

Aren't there some museum boards you can spam instead?

Jun 20, 14 6:41 pm

In architecture a case study is usually intended as a report on the developement of a design from its inception to the final completion. Furthermore the designs are usually attributed to specific categories of architectural projects so to help reaaders to find what is relevant to them. I designed buildings that happily have actually been subject of  case-studies by the RIBA, the IIDA, the Times, Abitare and many more serious institutions and I am am perfectly aware of what THEY indend as a case-study.

If you deem our serious work is spam, please simply don't read it.

I should add that our (free and volunteers-based) online magazine does not really need a couple more contacts from Archinect, never thought of posting here to get a stupid advantage. My only aim is to involve also archinect's users in the same architectural discussions I do with my friends (and after which I and my wife decide to write a museum review or a In many cases we also realize the photos by ourselves and visit the museums at our expenses without taking a single cent from anyone to publish our articles because we want to remain free to cover only the museums we deem relevant). We have spend a relevant amount of money to get from the FL Wright foundation the right to publish two unconventional images from them for our coverage of the Guggenheim museum NY (that we visited a couple years ago and lost all photos we shooted) that we offer to everyone interested FOR FREE.
We have some Google ADs on our site, last months they provided 5 USD that barely covered the montly cost of the coffe we drink at the office when writing an article. The magazine is NOT our main activity, we are an architectural practice which have a 15 years history behind and that is currently working in UK, Italy, France and Switzerland.

Anyway I don't want to create misunderstandings.

I kindly ask the administrator to judge wheather my posting is SPAM or is a true contibution. In the first case I have no problem to stop posting on this forum.

kind regards,


Jun 21, 14 10:24 am

Riccardo i agree that this project seemed light, refined/delicate in comparison to other ZHA projects.

Maybe because those were more "brand new", while this was an addition. Might also have something to do with scale/SQ ft?

Jun 24, 14 6:35 pm

she probably had no choice else she'd have demolished the old building

Jun 24, 14 8:49 pm

Nam, you are certainly right on many points. If I remember correctly, I have visited four buildings designed by Zaha Hadid so far, and the reasons I think the Sackler Serpentine is more "delicate" for me could lie in:


1) Client's expectations/requirements (Zaha Hadid has a long relationship with Serpentine Galleries, since she designed their first summer pavilion in 2000). The Gunpowder store where the Sackler is was granted by the Public after a bid, probably a design respectful of the Grade II old building was a requirement.

2) Budget (that's probably why the addition is a lightweight tensile structure)

3) Planning consent requirements. I have designed a building in Westminster some years ago and it was (and still is) in a listed site (on the Victoria Embankment, to be precise) and dealing with Westminster City Council for a contemporary building in a listed site was truly a pain in the ass. They have very strict rules on that and I don't think they would act differently only because the project is designed by a famous architect, like ZH.

Zaha Hadid is somehow known for her inventive (sometimes excessive, I agree) building forms, but I know she is also capable of more controlled and "humble" design if we could say so. Again her Fire Station at Vitra Campus falls in this category (it was also her first true building) but also the MAXXI museum in Rome is interesting, although I prefer different kinds of museum buildings.

Jun 25, 14 9:00 am

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