Zaha Hadid's Torqued Sheds


This is really a beauty of a Zaha Hadid takedown of her firm's riverfront museum in Glasgow--and so much more.

I came for the roof-as-nth-facade condemnation:

And this futility just deepens... the building is an example of 'Google Earth Urbanism'. That is to say; all this complexity can only really be seen from directly above. Without a spare helicopter, all you are really left with is the façade, which is marginally more interesting than your typical shed, and the blank slug-like form of the 'swooshing' S-shape, which meets the ground with all the elegance of a squished gastropod.
and stayed for the thorough routing of turn-of-the-century Stylist Modernism:
He says the competition-winning concept they had to work with was a system of ridges and valleys, which had to be translated into a structure.

Read that again.

So this is what has happened to the Modernists' quest for a synthesis of the Engineer and the Architect in the last 80 years. Absolute disassociation. The architect wins the competition with a shape, which the brains then have to spend time figuring out how to solve. This isn't exactly a full circle (the negation of the negation blah blah), but this is a very strange cultural position to be in, a truly postmodernist one. Now of course the Modernists' quest for synthesis was vulgar and naïve, and of course this quasi-dialectical teleological view of the world and its cultural expressions had to be surpassed (ha!), but is this really where we've ended up, nearly forty years after Pruitt-Igoe and Complexity and Contradiction? The best architects in the world as decorators, as stylists? And what's more - all that structure, all that difficulty, all of the real work of the building will be completely clad, both inside and out, expressed only as shape.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Purveyors of Architectural Melancholy [youyouidiot via things magazine]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: January 26, 2010.

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