The constant shaping of a cities skyline consists of futuristic buildings with inspiring features. Our advanced knowledge of technology has allowed there to be, the creation of slimline computers, smartphones and hybrid cars, showcasing new heights of innovation.
The architectural influences on society have come into realisation. Arts and craft based on pure imagination, constructed on functional spaces of the past, have come into actuality, and have been represented in its rarest forms of geometric construction. The world is coming to terms with a pro-tech, modernistic attitude towards the growth of newer high development futures. This piece of writing aims to explore how the views of futurism are reflected in today’s architecture, particularly looking at Zaha Hadid Architect’s Antwerp Port House.
The late architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950 – 2016), a feminist in architecture, a pioneer for women in design, was recognised all around the world for her intense de-constructivist, neo-modernistic approach within the architectural industry, showcased by her abstract designs consisting of, forms of morph, shape-changing geometries, and abstraction, with the intention of breaking the rules of space. Furthermore, her designs incorporated cutting-edge re-shaped surfaces to appear as deformed geometric shapes, almost crystal-like debris. This is similarly shown in the work of futurist Sant’Elia, where he imagined newer cities to have towering apartments and facades of glass. I believe Hadid has truly shown this aspect within her designs and has influenced further change within her architectural style, being driven by technology.
When understanding the comparative differences between the new and the old it can be misinterpreted. It can be clearly understood through the short movement between the panoramic lift from the former fire station to the entrance of the office building on the first floor.
The extension seeks to glorify the technological advances of the dynamic modern world. This is through its sharp angled facades and its choice of high-tech materiality, predominately consisting of glass and aluminium.
A movement seeking to oppress the weight of past cultures and lifestyles, instead encouraging to celebrate the modern world of industry and technology. The work of futurists used elements of neo-impressionism and cubism to create compositions. they expressed the idea of the dynamism and the energy and movement of modern life.
The Works of Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, Umberto Boccioni, underline these ideologies, such as the abstract Speed and Sound Painting of 1913, 1912, Dancer at Pigalle, oil painting, and the 1914 Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Action sculpture.These pieces of work have not only influenced its expression through art but through the way we live today.
The movement has influenced generations of architects including Hadid, allowing them to see a city in a more radicalised manner, a site of speed and constant change, based on the possibilities of ever advancing technologies. The belief of imagining the impossible.
Hadid, whose ethnic background was that of an Iranian descent, understood and captured her surroundings from a very young age. The open society of Bagdad, allowed her younger self to witness architecture and its impression on society. It was very much what influenced her into pursuing the craft, and that the injection of a new building could drive a cities economy as well as culture, but most importantly seek to develop a city through the understanding of change and future.
Seemingly the Antwerp project aimed to bring together 500 staff that were working in various parts of the city, allowing them to operate more efficiently by centralising the administrative and technical services of the port. The addition of the office complex was to further contribute to the development of the city and encourage an upgrade to the local area, through the extension’s modern and technological approach. The best way to rebrand a certain area is by encouraging change, and this is what Hadid did by introducing the Antwerp Port House.
The design of the port house was very much influenced by the encouragement of newer technologies and shows a clear contrast between the two buildings. The mentioning of “time and space dyeing yesterday”, is truly conceptualised within the project, with the aged and derelict composition of the former fire station, and the contemporary intervention of the upscale office hovering over representing that of ‘life within today’s world’, which is constantly chaining.
According to Hadid, “People forget what you can do through modern work, there was an obsession with historicism, vernacular, and postmodern design, so the idea of ‘new’ was almost alien.” 3 complementary of the movement of futurism, the quote shows Hadid’s perception of the world, and how we can sometimes become fixated on a regular way of life, that change is in order.
Zaha Hadid has been a true inspiration for may upcoming architects, myself included, and has shown that there a no limitations to what can be done through architecture. That the new, should always be embraced not discouraged, and that what is to come tomorrow, should not be hindered by today.