Zaha Hadid

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Zaha Hadid

Zaha began her lecture with the provocative question, 'Why is no important architect currently teaching in the School?' Should Norman Foster, for example, have a role teaching at the AA? From Zaha 's point of view, the answer is yes, and a series of further questions seem to follow from this one. Today, we seem to be in a period in which it is possible, especially outside Britain, for radical and inventive architecture to be built. This is where the field is learning and moving forward most convincingly. There may be a variety of ways of bringing active and important practicing architects into the school to teach, and Zaha is more interested in a diversity of teachers at different points in their professional and intellectual lives than she is in a new orthodoxy of one kind of professional teacher. The point is to engage the School more directly with the forward-looking practice of architecture in the professional world.

The thrust of this argument is that the AA is not a school of basic research, and that furthermore such a school would not really remain viable. To research properly is to engage with the questions of application. This doesn't mean that each unit should be directly involved with application every year –clearly there could be variation between research and implementation both across units and across time. What gives the School diversity should not be understood as the difference between research and application, for these should be seen as linked studies adding richness to underlying tendencies within the School. A few well- chosen tendencies are, in fact, important for research. Without a few clear tendencies, research loses its coherence and value; it would lose the density and intensity of internal communication within the School. A few divergent tendencies, together with an orientation to both basic research and application, give the school resilience and adaptability.

The model Zaha is suggesting is one in which two or three strong tendencies develop rich bodies of work based both on research and application, linked to larger issues of urbanism and practice, and involving more aspects of the school 's curriculum. General Studies, for example, needs to be more integrated into the directions of the School, and the same would hold for both the exhibition programme and AA Files. Zaha suggests that the strength and richness of the underlying tendencies of the School would make for a meaningful discourse rather than isolated and fragmented statements. This model can best be pursued through the strategic selection of teaching staff rather than through the self-organisation of a dominant tendency, and this would be best achieved by a Chair with a strong sense of leadership. And this leads Zaha back to the starting position: we should not exclude important practising architects from consideration for the Chair, for they are the ones most likely to bring decisive direction to the development of the discipline.

Larry Barth
Apr 15, 05 6:34 pm
sporadic supernova

what about herself then ? ...

Apr 9, 06 9:31 am
sporadic supernova

I mean .. she is considered an important contemporary architect right ? So then shouldnt she be a faculty of one of the schools? ..

Apr 9, 06 9:35 am

if i understood this interpretation of what hadid said, i found her model absolutely un-original and prophetsizing. what if, this so called 'important architects', in fact should never be so important if it wasn't for the media geniuses and other social status conditions put them in the fame and importance trajectory? would hadid be an important painter? is she an important painter? no & no. yet we found that she climbed to this position of 'important architect' thru the paintings she made in her early carier. are her buildings important? yes and no. they are important because she is famous and they are not important because they are no different than any other building except their formal expression.
should every different individual stylist should have their own school and students to follow their doddles? what future direction hadid's work brings to issues of third world housing, first world housing? how does her architecture is more important let say than felix wright? how does she solves the energy consumption of buildings in 21 century? how does she address the land use problems and urban conditions? how old is her oldest building and what is that building doing to furher importance of global solutions to architectural issues?
is she really important?
well this series of questions are not specifically directed to only her but to all her 'important' friends as well. whoever they are. and as long as 99% of world's population will never going to meet an architect in their lifetime. she can in fact direct and train the remaining 1% of the 0.2% to design and research and apply just like she does for a better world of more buildings to look like her un important paintings.

Apr 9, 06 11:47 am


Apr 9, 06 1:05 pm

the above posts are well respective and thought out.

as far as zaha at the aa... from what i comprehend from different fragements i have read is that she has put in her time as a teacher figure at the AA and is really no longer interested in that sort of position especially with the recent changes at the school

correct me if i am misunderstanding my readings

Jun 24, 06 1:27 pm

Zaha put her time in as a teacher at the AA before her practice work took off - it took a long time - she took part in competitions like The Hong Kong Peak etc. which never materialised. Her second in command, Patrik Schumacher, teaches at the AA right now and she gets on very well with Brett Steele, who she employed in her office at one time. Also, she employs dozens of recently graduated AA students, so I don't think she has a problem with the school at all. What would be a problem, not only for her but for all practising architects, is the amount of commitment required to head a teaching unit at the school. I mean, how do you say to a client - can't come to that meeting in China, I've got tutorials/diploma committee/juries/portfolio reviews, etc. etc. The AA expects blood from its teachers - no 9-5-ers.

Jun 26, 06 9:52 am

yes that is what i have come to understand from being around someone who knows her personally.. did not know about brett
and yes the AA is quite a serious institution. huge commitment

Jun 26, 06 12:11 pm

"I mean, how do you say to a client - can't come to that meeting in China, I've got tutorials/diploma committee/juries/portfolio reviews, etc. etc. The AA expects blood from its teachers - no 9-5-ers."

in fact, thats a pretty clever tactic for the architecture practice..many clients give so much importance academicians,especially the ones from important schools...

Jun 26, 06 12:46 pm

"in fact, thats a pretty clever tactic for the architecture practice.." it might work on the odd occasion but I think any client would get pretty p-----d off at this time of year, since most unit masters are at the AA every day, very often late into the evening.

Jun 26, 06 12:52 pm

In fact, to be fair, I remember Zaha nagging Alvin Boyarsky to try to find a way of involving those in practice which didn't involve them having to commit to the unit 52 weeks a year. He was never able to work out a system of doing it and nobody else has either. They can be brought in for one-off workshops but the bread-and-butter unit system just isn't made for it.

Jun 26, 06 12:55 pm

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