Remembering Zaha Hadid: Her most incredible masterpieces in Asia

South Korea’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza by night. Source: Shutterstock.

IN 2004, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the world’s premier architecture prizes and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

She also received the Stirling Prize, UK’s most prestigious architectural award; a Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects; and was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.

Hadid was described as one of the greatest architects of the age “who liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity” with talents that exceeded architecture. The sight of her soaring structures will leave you in awe and render you speechless, and likely force you to pick your jaw off the floor.

She died aged 65 of a heart attack in Miami on March 31, 2016, an untimely passing that shook the world beyond the architectural industry.

Her impressive portfolio includes the aquatic center for the London 2012 Olympics, Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum in the US, the statuette for the 2017 Brit Awards, and Heydar Aliyev cultural center, just to name a few.

From the Middle East to South Korea, to Singapore and China, here are some of Hadid’s most incredible, attention-grabbing masterpieces in Asia.

China: Guangzhou Opera House

The Guangzhou Opera House is a Chinese opera house in Guangdong province, China that opened in 2010.

Conceived to resemble two pebbles on the bank of the Pearl River, the theatre has become the biggest performing center in southern China and is one of the three biggest theatres in China.

Guangzhou Opera House in China. Source: Shutterstock.

The project cost RMB1.38 billion yuan (about US$200 million).

Address: 1 Zhujiang W Rd, Tianhe Qu, Guangzhou Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 510620.

Qatar: Al Wakrah Stadium (2022 FIFA World Cup venue)

Boldly futuristic, the Al Wakrah Stadium is a proposed football stadium which will be built in Al-Wakrah, Qatar.

Inspired by the sails of traditional Dhow boats, the elegant, 40,000 capacity stadium will host matches through to the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, and also become local football team Al Wakrah Sports Club’s home.

Al Wakrah Stadium will feature a multipurpose room, swimming pools, spas, and a shopping center with green roofs. In future, other amenities will be added such as a school, wedding hall, cycling and running tracks, restaurants, marketplaces, gyms, and a parkland.

Address: N/A.

Singapore: d’Leedon

Hadid made her Singaporean debut with d’Leedon, a prime Farrer Road condominium comprising of seven distinctive 36-story towers with 12 semi-detached villas on a compound that covers an area of approximately eight hectares.

Located near Singapore’s hip neighborhoods of Dempsey Hill and Holland Village, d’Leedon’s towers taper inwards as they reach the ground to optimize public space, resulting in “fluid” design.

d’Leedon in Singapore. Source: Zaha Hadid Architects.

Hadid also ensured landscape design was a big part of it, with communal areas inspired by mountain ranges: forest, meadow, foothills, pedestrian pathways, pockets of greenery and bodies of water.

Address: 7 Leedon Heights, Singapore.

South Korea: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, also known simply as DDP, is a major landmark in Seoul, South Korea.

Designed with the concept of “metonymic landscape.”, the building boasts a distinctively neofuturistic design characterized by the powerful, curving forms of elongated structures. In short, DDP looks like a spaceship.

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It’s a popular venue for fashion shows, forums, conferences and exhibitions and a tourist destination.

Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Hong Kong: Jockey Club Innovation Tower

Located on Chatham Road South in Kowloon, Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Jockey Club Innovation Tower is Hadid’s first permanent work in Hong Kong. The structure was designed to symbolize and drive the development of Hong Kong as a design hub in Asia.

Hadid and her team designed a creative, multidisciplinary environment by collecting the School of Design’s variety of programs and then dissolving the classic typography of tower and podium to create a seamlessly fluid new structure.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Jockey Club Innovation Tower. Source: Shutterstock.

The 15-story tower accommodates more than 1,800 students and staff, with facilities for design education and innovation that include design studios, labs and workshops, exhibition areas, multifunctional classrooms, lecture theatre and communal lounge.

Address: School of Design, Jockey Club Innovation Tower, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon.