Contemporary Arts Center
Zaha Hadid, born 31 October, 1950, is an Iraqi-British architect and designer. After earning a degree in mathematics at the American University of Beirut and studying at London's Architectural Association School of Architecture, she went on to work with her former teacher, the well-known architect Rem Koolhaas, and became a partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in 1977.
Much of her early work was largely theoretical, with designs so complex as to be considered unbuildable, but even these were innovative enough to garner international acclaim and win several design competitions and awards. In 1980, Hadid established her own practice, with over 20 works completed to date and many more currently underway. Some of her best-known works include the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, and MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy. Hadid's use of striking angles, complex curves, and bold formal juxtaposition has made her a leading figure in contemporary deconstructivist architecture, and in 2004 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize.
Contemporary Arts Center
Founded in 1939, Cincinnati, Ohio's Contemporary Arts Center has occupied multiple locations around the city. By 2001, the time had come to commission a purpose-built gallery space, and in keeping with the organization's cutting-edge approach to art, the gallery wanted an ultra-modern architect to design it. The selection committee narrowed down 100 submissions to three - Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and Bernard Tschumi - from which Hadid was ultimately selected. (Libeskind and Tschumi would both go on to complete other works in the Cincinnati area, the former with The Ascent in nearby Covington, Kentucky, and the latter with the University of Cincinnati's Lindner Athletic Center.)
Hadid's design - her first American commission and the first major American museum designed by a woman - came to be officially known as the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, named for two of its principal donors, and has been called "the most important American building to be completed since the cold war" by New York Times architectural critic Herbert Muschamp. The building consists of six stories and a lower level, housing galleries, offices, a performance hall, and a gift shop. The complex facade consists of multiple forms merging into one another, appearing to float over the glass-fronted ground floor that invites passersby in through a concept Hadid calls the "urban carpet," a continuation of the sidewalk outside into the interior and up the north wall.
Facts about the Contemporary Arts Center
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Building type: Gallery
Materials: Concrete, glass, and steel
Floor area: 82,265 square feet (7,643 square meters)
A Word from the Artist
Though relatively conservative as major American cities go, Cincinnati, Ohio, features a wide range of buildings designed by leading "starchitects," from Frank Gehry and Michael Graves to Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi, but my favorite is easily Zaha Hadid's CAC. Although I could have captured its form with a direct studs-on-top build, I wanted to reflect the building's formal concept of a city grid deconstructed and turned perpendicular, so the structure is built almost entirely sideways. This approach presented some unique challenges when combined with the various offsets - some as small as half a stud and even half a plate - that were necessary to represent the shifting forms, but a lot of trial and error with brackets and Erling bricks eventually resulted in a stable solution. The model is finished off with a few interior details on the ground floor, including a row of 1x1 "cheese" slopes to replicate the transition from floor to wall, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to add a splash of contrast with some red bricks to suggest the Shepard Fairey murals currently on display in the lobby.
Edited by Tragic Banjo, 09 April 2012 - 03:26 AM.