Aenne Burda Award (Zaha Hadid) | DLD13


can you raise your hand if you’re a creative person creative in career good thank you can you raise your hand if you’re a leader you manage people you lead people so raise your hand if you’re a creative leader so what’s interesting is fewer people raised their hands and why is it it’s because creative people don’t think of themselves as leaders usually and that’s an interesting problem an interesting question and that’s why this Aenna Burda Leadership Award for Creative Leadership is so critical and important Professor Marshall Ganz at the Harvard JFK school of government is an expert on what’s called the leadership narrative he’s the one that advises President Obama Hugo Chavez and many labour leaders on the idea that leaders tell stories about who they are and where they came from and the reason why we need leaders of course is people think that leaders are not so necessary right we think who needs that leader who needs them we don’t need them leaders are not needed when things are not changing when things are stable you don’t need leaders but leaders are needed when times change and creative leaders make change that’s what makes them so unique Now Zaha is such a type of leader and I found 3 points I want to share with you briefly that I think indicate why she is such a unique creative leader firstly creative leaders create They make things They’re not afraid to do that I’m sure you saw the Aquatic Centre for the London Olympics The Guangzhou project The Maxxi Museum in Rome these are examples of creating and they are awarded with the highest prize the Pritzker Prize examples of her leadership as a maker secondly creative leaders disrupt they aren’t afraid to be a little bit different Zaha’s background in mathematics speaks a lot The fact that she has stood out in the traditionally male field of architecture is unique she’s taken on intellectual property pirates in a fearless way she’s unafraid to disrupt and lastly and most importantly creative leaders are people too they are human beings and I know Zaha indirectly through good friends of Zowian Marony William Zowian and Poalo Marony We designed furniture the same year Zaha designed a couch I designed tables and lamps that year and I was blown away by her work and I actually asked Paolo for some comments on Zaha as a friend and I want to quote What comes to me is a smile I always tell her that she could be the best comic actor ever she can turn the most banal situation into an exhilarating space of joy She is an irreducible optimist Unquote So we celebrate Zaha Hadid’s incredible optimism and vision today Congratulations Zaha We’re all very happy that you could make your way from London to here I know it was a lot of snow and but finally you are here and everybody is enthusiastic because what you see here on the screens is incredible architecture such a powerful architecture Mr Pistoletti chi in Italia diciano Bernini no o anche Borromini un po’ you’re in a real great tradition and I’m so happy that we can give you this year for the first time it is not a total digital women normally it’s Arianna Huffington or it it Marissa Mayer this award of () which as in its original is not coloured but in the meantime the archaeological theory knows that it looks like those and please come on the stage that I can give you this award in honour of my mother who was very powerful and and who was a great publisher with magazines all over the world please receive this award thank you congratulations Thank you So we put it here because Come Ok You know what is a DLD ? Yeah all my friends come to DLD and anyway Thank you very much it is a great honour for me I never in my wildest dreams have thought that you know when I started off like 20 30 years from then I would receive any award so it’s always a surprise a nice surprise for me that people take the time to honour me and I have to say my journey has been a very exciting and interesting one and most importantly despite all the struggles I’ve enjoyed it You know I take things as they put it with a pinch of salt referring to Paolo who is a friend of ours Italian friend who I we laugh a lot and that’s very critical but I think its I went to a very important school in London and at the time I was a student we were told constantly that we all we had to do is have an idea and that’s what we focused on was the making of ideas and it sounds very pretentious but it was our focus and the next step was to how to develop the idea to a concept and the how the concept and architecture could become a project and that was maybe the most difficult is to kind of realise the theoretical project I mean many of us can there are great builders who can create buildings but it’s very important that actually we and I think that this moment I think it’s made it’s all made possible in terms of our work because of the digital world and enormous investigations by many young students and architects and incredible programmes and so I think it’s come a long way I was in my second year I was told by my teacher that I had an obsession with geometry and at the time that was not a compliment that was an insult to me because geometry was any kind of formalism was not seen as a kind of good investigation so things have changed and I think things are improving all the time and thanks to all people like you and so I think it’s very exciting thank you very much Bravo congratulations it’s very heavy I have it many many congratulations and a very warm welcome also to Patrick Schumacher now this is not the first time we have a conversation with the two of you at the DLD I was just wondering Zaha maybe because Steffi was wondering in terms of the prize the award that it could be interesting to talk about your inspirations and I remember that you very often talked about Russian constructivism and you mentioned your time at the AA and the work on () and I was just wondering if you could tell us a little bit how Russian constructivism inspired you and was a trigger Well I mean I think that The AA was a very weird place at the time it was a very anti-establishment so hello sorry we’re friends so I can that’s ok so I think that what was going on at the same time at AA was alternative life when I had you know come from Beirut I didn’t really In my first year I wanted to so called become a designer I mean it was a bit narrow and they were doing all kinds of projects at the time which 30 years later 40 years later actually are still kind of interesting but I I wasn’t I wasn’t interested so in my third year I was a senior for Leo Krier and after one year with Leo whom I saw recently I decided that that’s not the way to go although I think that was a very important experience because it was the first time I dealt with the city So that was an interesting experience and an important one But I did not think the way forward is historicism It was an important year ’75 because it was the year of the () a new rationalism and it was that year where neo-rationalism where historicism neo-rationalism and post-modernism sort of converged as a kind of a new thing anti-modernism and I I really did not think and it was a seminar given by Elia Zenghelis who was Rem’s partner at that time on Russian Avant-garde which kind of intrigued me so next year I joined Rem and Elia as a student and the first project we had was a () how to site it and we did not I mean at the time there was not so many books on the Russian Avant-garde there was (name) but there was not many other books there were some there was a show on (name) but it wasn’t kind of () so that was really let’s say the triggering device and from that I think the inspiration was abstraction or things indirectly which which are part of the modern theory among history but it was about anti gravitational reorganisation with implied reorganisation I think that was really the inspiration was reorganisation and abstraction leading to kind of many developments which led to other typologies which where people were very focused on now as Hubert said this award is a digital award and many digital pioneers who have actually had this award before you and this is obviously as well an award for your achievement in architecture but also in terms of digital architecture I wanted to ask you and Patrick maybe both to tell us a little bit about how the digital arrived in your practice or how you arrived to the digital I think that I was very resistant at the time to digital because I had done all these explorations not in terms of in terms of 3D modelling by hand so I did not think in that sense it was gonna end but I think I had one guy who was in my office who was very interested in digital and I think later on when teaching and I became more and more interested in these things I think Patrick was maybe intrigued by that earlier but I think it was through teaching in various schools whether it was Columbia or Harvard I became more interested in that aspects I mean I think what is important to realise that modernism which had been dominating the 20th Century for 50 60 years went into a terminal crisis where audiences clients the public kind of escaped from that and the principles and concepts were bankrupt in a way and there were 2 ways of reaction to that on the one hand there was going back to the historical repertoire in the historical city the assumption that modernism was too abstract and then there was the other direction like Zaha who wanted to radicalise abstraction and reinvent spaces and went to the Russian Avant-garde but also we went to other sources and inspirations nature and looked at but also of course the whole world of digital creation that kind of radicalised dynamism mathematics and also through the digital revolution the ability to really pick up on the nature analogy and use some of these scientific simulation algorithms to generate form which we had kind of intuitively also done through Zaha being inspired by landscape by organic form by biological form but bringing that into a kind of into the domain of really sophisticated creation through the digital tools was very very important now in the last conversation we had at DLD about a year ago we talked a lot about you know the history of your practice the different epiphanies the different steps which brought you you know to all the many many projects all over the world now so when we actually were thinking about today we thought it could be great to talk a little bit about the projects you’re working on at the moment the very recent projects so we see here images so I was just wondering if maybe you can tell us a little bit about the project we see here on the screen this is Montpellier there is a new project we just opened maybe 3 months ago that’s another thing I have a gallery now in London but what I do I did the the only thing which I didn’t do it was a pop up hair salon since I was a child I’ve been wanting to cut people’s hair but I used to experiment on friends of mine much to their parents’ anger but I was convinced that I was very good at it of course I was not so anyway I’m always asking people to fix their hair and so I had a great stylist with some great colourists coming to the office to do 100 people in my office they were all you know transformed so that was another project so that gallery has all the for example all the products there is this the Olympic pool the Olympic Aquatic Centre in London which is basically a wave with a you know with obviously a stadia for swimming the exercise pool and so I think we have well this year we opened quite a few projects for example the pool the project in Beijing which is a kind of very interesting interpretation of a very large urban structure which is not here I don’t know where it is it will come up in a minute it’s a big our first major commercial project with retail and office space but a lot of very small units to create a kind of colony of start-up companies in the centre of Beijing you’ll see that in a moment there is a new project we just won for the National Stadium in Japan in Tokyo which is an exoskeleton partly in fabric partly in in metal () there is also you once told me some time ago that you think we all talk about Asia and the Middle East and that kind of central Asia is should be more emphasised and I think you have projects elsewhere in Central Asia we have a project in Azerbaijan can you tell us about that it’s a I think a very exciting project it’s a project for 3 projects combined into 1 there’s a project in Beijing where it’s made of these it’s a kind of 2 datum or 3 datum which rings back some early work where we are discussing an idea of a new ground innovated ground on the top so a new kind of urban reconfiguration the project in Azerbaijan is a theatre and conference centre museum and a library they combined in one shell or 3 shells combined together so in the beginning () the idea of looking at combining programmes and there’s a very large urban intervention these are views from above of the Beijing project I mean if you look at this Beijing project and these images you can see the ambition that we are saying that the built environment becomes a kind of 360 degree interface where offerings and choices are offered in the urban space above below all around and layered into depths and that kind of enhances our communication capacity and much more can be kind of offered up than what would kind of come through let’s say the screen of the handset you could compare that we live in a society where we have to increase communication on all levels but also within the built environment and that makes for this kind of complex fluid environment which we are talking about and there is a museum a new museum in Michigan for the State University in Michigan which is on the edge of the campus and the city which is kind of a completely distorted like a jewel box with pleated metal innovation some of these pleats allow light and some are just are you know just a skin and each of these sections represents one of the galleries and () on and what about the project in Iraq there is this project you developed for Iraq which is obviously extremely interesting because it would be the first time a project happens in your home country can you tell us this is Azerbaijan that’s Azerbaijan yeah in Iraq we are doing the central bank on the on the Tigris that’s interesting I mean I think the Middle East unfortunately is it going through a turmoil and I think it is an interesting region and there was the beginning of some really major projects happening there and interesting ideas and I think some of them have temporarily stopped but the Iraqi bank is going to end I think for example if you look at the Azerbaijani project this is really all done made possible through technology because of all the pre-cast form work of all the fibre concrete all the wood on the interiors you can achieve this kind of level of complexity in a building through digital work there is a project in Korea can you tell us about that about Korea well this Korean project it’s a park which becomes a building so it can move from the park onto the building it’s a design museum and a design library design conferencing spaces and what we are looking at right now is another cultural complex in China in Guangzhou with the opera house concert hall museum multi-purpose hall so these are kind of cultural parks cultural complexes where a lot of institutions come together to activate a kind of new urban environment and you can see here in these spaces it’s all about communication so you’re suspended in space and have connections all around you in all directions so it’s a kind of space of flying instead of having just one surface to move on but it’s so many projects are built it’s an incredible amount of you know built reality I was wondering if you have still unrealised projects among the early unrealised projects which are regrets if there is kind of projects you would like to see yeah I mean I think that there are maybe 2 3 projects which it’s in a way a shame it didn’t happen one is the media centre in Dusseldorf but you know we moved on from them all we’ve got the Opera House but we have moved on from that point I think that one can’t always lament and I think the work we did later is better and so I don’t really I just think at the time it was a shame it didn’t happen because it might have made things a bit easier for us but and they were very nice projects there is the central bank in Baghdad which is a kind of tower on the Tigris actually next to the campus which was a building designed by () which was Walter Gropius’ old office it’s very close to this building kind of like a folded louvered skin to allow for kind of shading and you can see in this project how the building is not a glass tower but very much based on climatic relations very very solid in many directions and then opens up where you can open up where you have views and where you can afford to bring in light so it’s a new model of an environmentally adaptive differentiated structure maybe a few last questions one thing I was wondering you continue to teach and in Vienna and very often also there are projects you curate which involve a younger generation of architects you’ve been
always very supportive of a younger generation of architects and after this panel you will have another panel of newer generation I was kind of wondering how you see that new generation in architecture right now the generation of your students the generation of you know young architects emerging I mean I think I must say () have been a very for me a very successful experiment you know I some very good students and I think partly I think the most successful generation was a time when the students had both analogue and digital they had both knowledges I think I think now they have one knowledge but also the success of that class was based on the fact that they were with us for 5 to 6 years through the master class and I think it had a certain value that you are we are very well trained for 5 6 years and they have enormous skills but they’re also very incredibly many of them very talented and very skilled designers and those who I keep in touch with and who are in my office are extremely good they are the best people I have so I think that I can’t generalise because I’m teaching at Yale this year so so that will also be very but I think I mean I don’t you know I don’t think this generation is better than the I think it depends on the skills you acquire and how open your mind is to new ideas and what is going on to inspire you because I remember when I started in the 70s I mean there were no skills no one even knew how to draw you know it was a mess so you know they were more maybe socially conscious and that was also valued but so I think that I just think that the next generation of architects have to have the guts to make the next step interesting is also that artists often grow out of your office Terence told me he used to work for you so that’s another thing yeah I mean well Terence worked very strange in my office he was actually very he can draw very well but he was more interested in clubbing than than than you know or dressing funny but he was a great kid and he I still have some of his I mean the drawings are were really very nice and I say that because I think at the time we you new people they had a skill like drawing or making models they advanced faster because you can give them tasks to do and they can do it quickly and that was true of many of the American students and many of the German students they were quite well trained while if you hire somebody you know from the AA who were actually very talented they thought talent is sufficient to you know I mean it’s not enough so I think that I can’t generalise I mean I think that you know there were very interesting people in my generation or the next generation and but I mean what is what is extraordinary now of course is that it’s a totally global phenomenon that new movement particular in terms of digital design and parametric design and you have young architects all over the place particularly in the more remote locations if you go in all over the Middle East Asia even Iran you have communities who participate online kind of in real time through all the Internet sites and Facebook and twittering and because it’s image based it really goes viral every design it doesn’t matter whether it’s from a famous architect or from anybody throwing an image goes viral across the internet and it’s very very exciting it creates a really kind of fermentation and movement which which we all participate in it’s a totally new quality maybe one very last question we spoke last time a lot about London when you came to DLD Women and what does London need I was kind of wondering what does Munich need I don’t know Munich that well I mean I think that I would say across Germany they need to go a bit wild you know it’s just kind of you know kind of I don’t mean in any way that Germans are uptight but but I think that for a long time in Europe everyone thought there was only one kind of order and there is only one rationale and that rationale had to overrule everything and I think what happened in Berlin is a good example of this so-called uptightness because I think Berlin and sadly before the wall came down was a very exciting city and after the Wall came down it’s become a bore and it’s tragic because they tried very hard to restore it as it was before the Wall and I think that one has to I mean the Wall changed in the same way I’m sure Iraq if I go to Iraq I will have a similar feeling you cannot you can restore certain things but I think one has to also adapt to new ideas and accept there are other modes of thinking which can make these places better and I think Berlin for example as an example or maybe I mean I actually think I remember going through Aachen many years ago walking around and realise that the historic city is actually very exciting because it doesn’t have one dominating geometry it had constantly changing geometry and very clearly overlayed and I think that’s what makes a European city in a way more interesting than other places because of these layers which allow you to kind of invent more complex programmes and more complexity in terms of the fabric of the building so I think these historic cities are more receptive to new things than the traditional idea of kind of new like New York or or whatever which is also very exciting but I think they are more receptive and I mean just going to Beijing every 6 months and watching within you know not everything is perfect but watching within your not only lifetime but within few years of your life something radically changed so fast and some people think it’s not very exciting but I think it really is interesting and to watch how some you know things people get better at it and all the time and that’s why you know I thing when you when you look at young people’s work they focus and also spend the time on it through time and through the work of working on the idea of their skill they get better so I think that German cities could could move away from this idea of only one single kind of typology that we can only do things in one particular way I mean I remember doing Dusseldorf which had many triangulated edges and the people in the town hall were having an absolute fit because they had to measure every every triangle is a waste of space I mean you know imagine a world where every every circle every triangle is not seen as usable space or rational space this is completely insane so they have to relax there could not be a more wonderful conclusion Zaha and Patrick thank you so much thank you thank you

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