Zaha

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot,

Others transform a yellow spot into the sun.

Pablo Picasso

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There are architects… There are famous architects… There are very famous, world-famous architects… And then there is Zaha.

Prima Dona of the art scene. Drama queen of the modern design. Architectural Diva.

So Zaha made it again. This time it was Stirling Prize – one of the most significant architectural awards in the world, presented by the legendary RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects).

6 years ago she became a first woman-architect who has received The Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is basically an Architectural Nobel.

She nailed it this year. Her Maxxi Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome (slideshow below) was Number One without any doubts. Striking project with her signature streamlined geometry, with those elongated futuristic shapes superimposed in a highly sophisticated yet most natural way… Just like some kind of an exotic beautiful flower.

Bizarre, contradictory architecture indeed, but so… freakishly creative and absolutely unique. No point to describe it. Try to describe a touch of the wind or a ray of light… Some things you have to feel. Zaha’s architecture is not for scrupulous analysis but for raw instincts.  Sexual, sensual, seductive. Architectural storm, architectural twist, architectural hurricane…

When I was a student she was my idol. She and Libeskind. Their radical personalities, phantasmagorical graphics and revolutionary intellectualism deconstructed our conservative minds. I was crazy about Libeskind’s Berlin project; it’s razor sharp style. But he was grim, he was serious, he was a man… Zaha was different. She was a flame, she was love, she was a woman. And how can you beat that?!

Zaha’s “Peak”… Oh… her Hong Kong images crushed that fake world of postmodernism, stupid mannish postmodernism of 70s and 80s. “The Peak” fantasy was never built…. Many years passed. We are not students anymore and she’s is an ultra successful commercial architect. Bur her “Peak”! It will always be an absolute architectural zenith to me.

Today she is rich and famous. She is a superstar. She is a friend of Karl Lagerfeld. She dresses in yellow. She manages a fantastic life. She is in the world elite. Her projects are uber-cool, super-stylish and money making. There is no rebellion against establishment in her vision. She is an establishment now.

But who cares! Who gives a damn! After all, everyone knows she is a genius and her Peak is a Height that will never be conquered.

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Congratulations, Zaha.

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P.S. How many great people in the world art history are known by their first names only? Think of it. Not too many. Offhand I can recall only four. Leonardo. Raphael. Michelangelo. Zaha.

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Stirling Prize 2010, Zaha Hadid

MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts

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