Zaha Hadid’s Wild, Unbuilt Visions

After Zaha Hadid died suddenly on March 31 of last year, the famed architect’s firm had to figure out how best to move forward, with Patrick Schumacher, Hadid’s second-in-command, taking the lead. Last year, speaking to the New York Times less than a month after Hadid’s death, Schumacher said the firm had 36 projects that are already under construction or had design contracts.

But the prolific firm has scores of unrealized projects too, much of which would never see the light of day–though it’s no less a part of Hadid’s legacy.

Museum of 20th Century Art, Berlin. [Image: courtesy Zaha Hadid Design Gallery]
Now, the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery—the London gallery space of the Hadid’s product company—is making a case for why we should also look back on Hadid’s unrealized designs even as the firm carries on her legacy. The exhibition, called ZHA Unbuilt, highlights some of the firm’s concepts for projects that were never built to show insight into its continuous and iterative design process. This latest version of the series is running in conjunction with London Festival of Architecture, which goes through the end of the month.

As ZHA tries to continue to push boundaries and carry on the experimental research Hadid established in the office, this exhibition is an insightful look into projects that are at risk of being forgotten. Projects like a skyscraper for 425 Park Avenue in Manhattan’s Plaza District, the Heathrow Airport expansion in London, the Museum of 20th Century Art in Berlin, and a cable car in Bolzano, Italy, were never completed because ZHA lost the design competition to other firms. Others, like the New Dance and Music Center at the Hague in the Netherlands, is yet to be completed.

Revisit all of these bold plans in the slide show above.