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The Relationship Between the Interior and Exterior Design of Zaha Hadid’s Buildings

Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid was well known for her amazing futuristic architecture by curving façades, sharp angles, and severe materials such as concrete and steel and created beautiful pieces of architecture Hadids highly expressive designs are shown using sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points.
Zaha Hadid started out as a painter creating wonderful art of futuristic looking art and it was not until 1977 when she started her career as an Architect, Hadids first successful project was Vitra Fire Station (1989-1993).
In recent decades, Zaha Hadid’s work has been credited with a list of very honourable awards. In 2004 she received the Pritzker Prize which was very significant as she was the first woman to receive this prize. In 2010, Zaha Hadid Architects received the sterling prize which was given to a project built or designed in Britain which has had the biggest contribution to architecture.
Vitra Fire Station
a Zaha Hadids first major build was Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993) this was Hadids first mile stone in the world of architecture which gave Hadid international recognition. When Hadid was initially designing the project, it was only meant to accommodate a fire station but this expanded and her complex design included boundary walls which allowed there to be room for an exercise space and a bicycle shed. The building was to sit around a bend on the street which made the design a challenge.
Hadid has designed the building in such a way where it is purposeful as well as an elegant piece of architecture.
Vitra Fire Station consists of complex shapes and planes while this is not necessary for the purpose of the building ( fire station ) the building is a clear demonstration of the rhetorical power of architecture. The building consists of the engine house where fire engines are stored, shower and changing facilities, a kitchen and also a conference room. The fire station is often described as ‘sculpture-like’ and is mainly made out of insitu concrete. Hadid has been very clever and used the building to define the street in which the site is positioned on.
Hadids design intentions resulted in a long and narrow structure that stretched along the street. The building itself is composed of a series of linear concrete walls and roof elements. The walls, which appear as pure planar forms from the outside, are punctured, tilted, or folded in order to meet internal requirements for circulation and other activities.
One thing Hadid wanted to maintain throughout the design of the Vitra Fire Station was for it to look simple and give a sense of purity, this was achieved by using in- situ concrete to create the walls which gave them a smooth finish, she had chosen not to use roof cladding and edging because this would have created a distraction from the clean cut edges of the in-situ concrete.
Exterior Features

The materials used for this building was mainly in-situ concrete and steel supports this was because Hadid wanted to make the building simple. It is composed of a series of concrete walls and roofing features, with certain interstitial spaces in between. The walls appear to be flat but on closer inspected are tilted or angled this is to increase circulation throughout the building to meet standards. Zaha Hadid wanted to show many things through the design of the building the first one was a movement this is to reflect the activities that go on in the building. There are also predicted guide lines on the pavement which are designed to show the movement of the intended purpose of the building, for example, there are curved tracks coming out of the garage which show the movement of the fire engine and the other paths would show the routine that the firemen would take when doing their job.
Interior Features
The interior of Virta Fire Station building was designed to reflect the entire buildings purpose which is movement and space this can be seen throughout the building as each element of the interior adds to the feeling of movement in the building as neighboring elements contain lines that run parallel, and the perception to depth is increased by adding slanted planes onto sides of the wall, making each room seem even larger than they actually are. The theme of simplicity carries on throughout the interior in such aspects as windows, stairs and door entrances. Windows in the building do not have frames the stairs are basic stairs however, far from conventional stairs more modern and futuristic yet so basic this has been achieved by only connecting the stairs by one part also the stairs only have a run and have a void instead of a rise. Door entrances in the building have no doors and seem to be open all times indicating they may be used frequently.The light that enters the interior follows the angles of the exterior and it feels direct and logical which reflects the fast movement through the building.
The Guangzhou Opera House
Like many of Hadids work The Guangzhou Opera House has been shaped to resemble to pebbles located on the bank of the Pearl River (Guangzhou Chine). The building started construction in 2004 and was finished 2010 china in 2010. featuring two separate forms that seem to piece together, the project serves as a gateway to the city and was one of zaha hadids biggest pieces of work to be completed.
Exterior design
The exterior of The Guangzhou Opera House is a fascinating shape thought to have been created to resemble two pebbles as a reference to the neighbouring pearl river. The Guangzhou Opera House has many urban functions and has opened access to the nearby river and docks, combining cultural traditions with a contemporary approach.
The structure is mainly metal frame work of the opera house consisting of many unique, custom-cast steel joints to hold the structure in place. The cladding of the larger building is coloured a charcoal and being made from a rough granite while the smaller building is made from a lighter more of a white coloured granite.
The triangular glass sections of the buildings work great by creating natural light into the buildings as well as opening up as areas for the public.
Fold lines in this landscape create different zones within the Opera House, cutting dramatic interior and exterior canyons for use of circulation, lobbies and cafes, and allowing natural light to pass throughout the building.Fully glazed walls merge interior and exterior environments
The smaller of the two buildings is a multipurpose performance hall, while the larger is the main auditorium.
Interior design
The interior is split among two separate buildings, the larger buildings spans across an area of about 36,400m², while the smaller structure spans about 7,400m². The circulation of visitors is created by the massive steel structural frame spine inside the main auditorium space in the larger building. A variety of views are created looking into the main foyer this can be seen from various different levels used for finding orientation and also connectivity throughout the building. The public foyers are allocated between the auditorium and the structural steel of the buildings . The foyers take many paths one of the paths can be taken to the auditorium balconies using slopes and twists to navigate your way through. The outdoors and main entrances are all either accessed through ramps or stairs.
The Walls and ceilings of the auditorium are made up of about 4,000 white LEDs. The acoustics design was a challenge for the asymmetric performance hall. The design had to consider the all the differences between Chinese and Western operas. To create the correct acoustic levels this is achichived by its unique shape by maximising travel both in width and height meaning less effort is required to fill the auditorium.

London Aquatics Centre for 2012 Summer Olympics
Zaha Hadid started designing this back in 2004 her theory behind the unique shape and design was inspired by fluid geometrics or the flow of water it created space around the olympic park as well as reflecting important features such as the riverside landscape. It was built 2011 for Summer Olympics in 2012. Inside of the stadium consists of three pools, the training pool, the competition pool and the diving pool . The training pool is placed under the bridge and the competition and diving pools are placed in the central hall which is directly under the main roof. The Aquatics Centre is designed to accommodate 2,800 at one time and it also has the ability to fit 1000 more seats which can be available for special events. Due to its wave like structure, the aquatics centre is one of the most visited places by tourists in London. It’s currently used for diving, synchronised swimming and water polo. It has become the main centre for hosting swimming competitions in London.

Exterior features
Once the Olympics had ended and the Olympic grandstands were removed, the east and west facades were built. The east and west facades were shaped sloping inwards coming down from the roof. The shape of the sloped had to follow the wave shaped design of the roof and the merge out of them in a way that makes them look graceful. The posts were placed from diagonal struts to an additional column that was placed behind the façade, this made a support structure to balance the other structural elements. The support structure that is created is fixed at the ground level and this allows all the load to be transferred to the ground.
The ceiling of the building is made out of hardwood which is sourced sustainably the roof is constructed from structural steel and also aluminium these are 50% recycled materials. The unique structure was made by 2 arched shape structures that span 120m long. The ceiling of the building is clearly one of the main design features of the interior aswell as the exterior. They both follow the same paths as they are both representing the flow of water chosen by Hadid.
Gare from sunshine is prevented as all the glass panes are covered with screen printed black dots that are arranged in a pattern. This will make sure only pleasant sunshine is given and glare is not which would make it more uncomfortable for someone sat in the building or it could affect the performance of one of the atheletes.
The building consists of 628 panes of glass which are placed around the building and there are also 8 external doors, these are the only way natural light is allowed to pass through the building. The external facade is supported with steel sections that separate the panes of glass, Hot water is then passed through the steel sections and this is to prevent condensation forming on the glass and creating a clouded window which wouldn’t be able to pass much light through this is especially essential during the winter months. The exterior is mainly structural glass as well as structural steel Hadid uses these materials to create the shape and form of waves.

Interior features
Inside the Aquatics stadium, the main material that was used was smooth finishing concrete along with tiling to complete the floors which is seen to be the main material as the building is kept quite simplistic with the choice of material as the main focus was the shape and structure of the building. The building is 45m in height and has over 600,000 tiles completed the floor and all three pools.
Zaha Hadid uses very complex curves and features to produce fantastic pieces of architecture, throughout her work she has learnt to let her buildings flow more and the exteriors of her work become more open and take over the shape instead of the exterior. This can be seen throughout her work from her paintings right up until her final pieces.
Hadid is now one of the most famous architects of all time and her architectural style cannot named as her style is so vast her work is often described as unique, strong, powerful and interesting through studying Hadid I have come to notice she creates contemporary iconic architecture which brings a new level of arhictetcuure not just phsyvially but socially. Hadid loves exploring news aspects of design through materials and is always stretching her limits in her architectural career one of her more noticed use of styles is the use of fluid motion where she would create simplistic fluid structures with the use of geometric shapes this can be seen throughout her work especially in The London Aquatics centre. Hadid had a massive love her painting and started out painting in her earlier career and had said some of her designs came from the ideas of lightness and floating structures, and the way they land on the ground gently. Hadid mainly worked with 2 main materials, in situ concrete and glass, she would use these materials, alter and bend them to create natural shapes this is seen in very much of Hadids work. Because of her use of transforming shapes, she was able to create intresting shapes which can create a physical feel as well as mental. Hadids work is very much respected by millions around the world
Hadid’s first opportunity to show off her abstract designs was given to her when she designed the Vitra fire station. The building is made up of in situ concrete planes, which serve to shape and define the street running through the complex, this was Hadids first attempt at making one of hrt paintings become a functional architectural shape. Her style in the 90’s was focused around sharp edges, angular concrete planes and smooth seamless boundaries, this style for was used for her interior and exterior design. Hadid drifted away from this as her architectural career progressed.

Hadid always kept the simplistic element in the majority of her designs Hadid believed by keeping things simple she could achieve more from her designs Zaha Hadid’s design for the 2012 Olympics resulted in a large construction that had the main focus on the roof that raised dipped like an ocean wave, the exterior and the interior of the Olympic stadium reflected the movement of water. Hadids worked had become more of a flow rather than straight lines she created spaces and shapes based on real objects as in the London Aquatics centre she used the curves to create the shape of water.

Zaha Hadid had said that she wanted to move away from her design style that gave her success in the 1980s and this would be shown in the development of her interior and exterior relationship. Her initial design strategy was to use complex shapes and the interior would reflect that by seeming to be unusual where parts of the wall and floors would not seem to be in scale or seem to be larger than they actually, and this would create an illusion. Her more recent designs show how her strategy has changed completely where she now chooses to uses flowing curves rather than angular straight lines. Zaha Hadid has chosen smooth 3 dimensional exploded forms into smooth flowing forms which seem to be less intense on the eye. Simplicity has always been an element of Hadid’s design, for example in the Vitra fire station, the design was based around a complex fragment explosion but she would still keep the simplistic element where the pieces still seemed simplistic as they were one material and they had a lack of edging and exterior cladding.
Hadid has always worked with the idea of blurring the object in a foreground and background landscape, meaning her buildings would reflect the landscape that it’s around and in some cases, the landscape merges into the building for example this is shown in The Guangzhou Opera House as the Pearl river flows along side it the building is supposed to replicate two pebbles along the river bed side. Zaha Hadid’s style of work is unique and bold, making her buildings lively and also evoking human emotion. Zaha Hadid’s iconic architecture has made her become one of the most influential and famous architects of all time.
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designboom | architecture

Arne Jacobsen: Biography and Project Analysis

“Economy plus function equals style” was the theory behind Arne Jacobsen’s many architectural designs. This precedent study is a research paper about Arne Jacobsen. The paper will give an overview of Mr. Jacobsen’s life, and there will be an in-depth analysis of three of his projects that were created during his life-time.
Arne Jacobsen: Biography and Project Analysis
Arne Jacobsen was born February 11, 1902, died March 24, 1971 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Influenced by his mother’s hobby of painting floral motifs, Arne Jacobsen hoped to become a painter. However, his mother and father encouraged him to pursue a more secure career in Architecture. He graduated from The Technical Society’s School in 1924, as a trained bricklayer. He attended the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied until 1926. As Poligrafa (2010, p. 13) wrote, while attending school, Jacobsen submitted a chair design to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris World Exhibition and was awarded a silver medal, that is where his fame as a chair designer really began. Among Jacobsen’s early influences were Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius (“Arne Jacobsen” n.d.). As a designer and architect, he is well known for his contributions to the Functionalist movement.
After graduation Jacobsen went to work briefly under Poul Holsoe, a well-known neoclassical architect before starting his own firm in 1927. While in his own firm his work was met with protest and acclaim, creating numerous structures in the International Modern Style. In 1934 Jacobsen was commissioned to design the Stelling House, he integrated the aesthetic of the surrounding buildings while adding his own modern flair. He believed in the idea of “total design” creating everything from the furniture, and fittings to the uniforms of the employees of the buildings.
In 1943, during World War II Jacobsen who was in fear of being sent to Nazi concentration camp due to his Jewish background, was forced to flee by boat to Sweden. While there he and his second wife Jonna Jacobsen, a trained textile printer, started designing wallpaper and textiles for Noriske Kompaniet, the leading department store in Stockholm. Produced under the tragic circumstances of wartime, Jacobsen’s textiles of the 1940’s show an evolution from his interiors of the 1930’s to future abstract patterns and modular building of his later years as (Sheraton, 2003 p. 159) wrote.
When Jacobsen returned to Denmark, he resumed his architectural pursuits. During this time, he designed The Number Seven Chair and The Ant, further launching his reputation as a world-renowned furniture designer. In 1954 Jacobsen was commissioned to design the Rodovre Hall after winning a design competition. It has been stated throughout the years the overall form of the building resembled the General Motors Technical Center in Detroit, Michigan. Throughout his career, it was said that Jacobsen could never decide between architecture and design, thus conceived projects with amalgamation of both. This is said to be the reason every architectural piece is accompanied with the most minute details showing Jacobsen’s love of the arts (“Arne Jacobsen, Famous Architects” 2020).
In 1956, Mr. Jacobsen accepted the position of professor of architecture at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen where he remained until 1965. In 1955 SAS selected Jacobsen to design The SAS Royal Hotel, built from 1956 to 1960, it gave Jacobsen the opportunity to design what has been called “the world’s first designer hotel”(Kaminer, 2009). He designed everything from the building and its furniture and fittings to the ashtrays sold in the souvenir shop and the airport buses. In 1958 Jacobsen designed The Egg chair, it was one of many furniture designs he did for this building.
Arne Jacobsen is one of the most well-known architect and modern furniture designers of the 20th century. His abilities to use innovative glass and lighting, Jacobsen designed everything from curtains to stemware to chairs, thus creating an intimate experience in the space. He received international praise from his designs. Jacobsen excelled at bring together function and form in a unique and harmonious way. Due to his unexpected death in 197, his unfinished projects were completed by former apprentices. The fact that so many of his products from chairs and lighting fixtures of the 1950’s to the coffee pots and bathroom fixtures of the 1960’s, remain in production today is a statement to his ability to combine beauty and utility at every level (Sheridan 2003).
The above picture is an image of the unique staircase in The Rodovre Town Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Rodovre Town Hall showcases Arne Jacobsen’s interest in minimalism. It was completed in 1956. The building has been said to have been inspired by the General Motors Technical Center in the United States. The town hall has two separate building connected by a glass corridor. The materials used for the staircase by Jacobsen are rubber and metal surrounded by glass and suspended from the ceiling/roof using orange steel rods. This staircase also features the use of mixed media materials.
The main staircase, a dog-leg plan with half landings towards the window side, is on the south side of the entrance hall and is a thin and elegant design in and seems to be suspended in the space. The proportions of the stairs are an example that follows The Golden Mean, in which that there is a striking balance between two objects that is pleasing to the eye. While looking at the zigzag like pattern of the stair landing the eye is able to follow the pattern continuously upwards without breaking the look. There is also a symmetrical balance of the proportions of the stair landings.
Looking at the staircase there is multiple uses of rhythm. The first use of rhythm is repetition where the metal stair has a zigzag pattern that is continuous throughout the upward climb of the staircase. The rhythm of opposition or contrast is also seen in the interesting rhythm of the stair landings versus the stairs. The next use of rhythm is the transition of the orange steel rods that forms lines that move the eye upwards as well.
The emphasis is placed on the zigzag of the stairs to create a focal point. The use of the color orange for the steel rods move the eye to an additional emphasis which allows the viewers eye to move along seamlessly. All together the stairs work together as a whole to create a beautiful emphasis of a focal point.
The stairs create harmony with the architecture and elements that are pleasing, orderly and in a state of agreement. The glass, and steel are hard and smooth to create a sense of unity and harmony.
The stairs also have a sense of space. The open space of the glass gives the landings a feeling of floating on air. The shapes of the stairs zigzag have a geometric balance to them. The forms of the steel rods are cylindrical.
There are multiple uses of lines in the staircase. The first is the horizontal landings, which show the feel of weightiness. The second use of line is the vertical steel rods which show solidity and lift the eye vertically. The next use is angular, which provides the eye with movement, action, and stability. The final use of line is the zigzag lines which create movement and action.
The use of natural lighting works well to highlight the contrast and colors of the staircase. It highlights the surfaces of the glass.
The use of the color of a secondary color orange on the steel rods give a visual contrast that gives the eye visual stimulation.
Built by Arne Jacobsen in collaboration with another Danish architect Erik Moller in 1937, the structure stands out with its jutting clock tower and three staggered building elements. 70 years after its completion, the uniquely designed Aarhus City Hall still represents a modern marvel. The style reflects modernism, with organic lines that soften the business-like, constructive building made of concrete plated with marble. The interior, which is not shown is made of brass and wood makes an elegant impression.
The scale of the tower and clock give the building a sense of weight. The size of the clock also is a reference to actual scale of the building.
The proportions of the building are pleasing to the eye and for The Golden Mean rule.
There is a balance that is asymmetrical in the shape of the building. The height of the clock tower versus the actual building height gives the asymmetrical balance. There is also a sense of asymmetrical balance in the length of the building with the front side appearing shorter than the length of the backside behind the tower.
The rhythm created on the façade of the Aarhus City Hall is seen in the windows. The repletion of the rectangular windows creates a sense of minimalism. The use of the element of opposition is found in the soft curve of the copper front of the roof on the front of the building. The contrast of the steel lines of the exterior of the tower versus the radius of the clock is also use of rhythm.
The emphasis of the clock tower creates a focal point that allows the eye to travel upwards. The harmony in The Aarhus City Hall is created with the repletion of the windows and the geometric grid of squares and rectangles on the façade of the building. The use of space on the building would be considered positive space. The mass of the actual size of the clock tower is weighted in look.
The use of line in the building is achieved in a few ways. The horizontal lines of the concrete expand the space of the building giving it a weighty look. The vertical lines of the skeletal structure of the clock tower give a lofty imposing feel that lifts the eye upwards. The curved copper roof creates a soft transition to the other wise hard horizontal lines.
The texture of the building is smooth and simplistic. The pattern is achieved with the repetition of the rectangular and square glass windows. The use of natural lighting seen through the skeletal structure of the clock is visually impacting. Although this view does not show the interiors it is apparent that the use of natural lighting plays a key part in the interior. The color used in this building is minimal with variation and would be considered achromatic or neutral. Overall this building is a monument to minimalistic design with a modern touch.
The Jacobsen Egg Chair has become an icon in modern furniture design. Commissioned for the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958. The materials are molded aluminum base and leather of fabric for the seat and back. The dimensions of the Egg Chair are 43” tall, 34” wide, and 31” in depth. This chair also featured an ottoman. The Egg Sofa was briefly designed as well but was stopped due to the size and upholstering issues.
The scale of the chair seat in proportion to the base is large. It has a sense of floating in air with the bases light feel. The scale of the “wing back” portion of the top to the bottom is larger.
The proportions of the of the size of the chair are pleasing to look at and follow the Golden Mean Rule, giving the eye a pleasing visual view. The proportions of the seat to the back as a whole are pleasing to the eye.
The balance of the materials of the chair are considered symmetrical. The base gives a radial balance with the four -star legs that are equal distance from the base center. There is also a balance of function and form in the chair as it swivels and reclines, thus allowing total relaxation for the person sitting in it.
The rhythm in the Egg Chair is found in the cocoon shape of lines that transition the eye without any interruption. The wavelike line travels around the whole shape of the chair. There is also a progression of the shape widening and lessening in its shape
The emphasis on the chair is in the shape that resembles the shape of an eggshell. The minimal lines of the base place all the emphasis on the shape of the chair.
The harmony that is created in this chair is thru the orderly state of the minimal design of it. The combination of the design elements creates a unity to the design of this chair.
The space of the Egg Chair is created in a couple of ways. The mass of the chair compared to the simplistic look of the base is positive space. There is also a feeling of negative space with the wave-like movement on the middle of the chair.
The form of the chair back is an inverted pyramid. The shape of the chair has a natural feel to it in the fact it imitates the look of a cracked egg. The base of the chair has radial form with the four-star legs equal distance from the center base leg.
The mass of the chair if has a solid look with the volume placed on the chair back.
There are a view uses of lines in the Egg Chair. The first use of lines is the use of horizontal lines on the base legs that give the base a secure feel and look. The next use is the curved lines of the chair creating a softness around the edges and a feeling of gracefulness. The flowing lines are also represented in the design.
The texture and patterns in this chair would be dictated by the use of upholstery, which would vary based on choice. The use of light would also vary based on placement of the chair in the interior space. The same applies for color.
Poligrafa, E. (2010). Objects and Furniture Design Arne Jacobsen. Balmes, Barcelona: Distributed Art Publishers.
Sheridan, M. (2003). The SAS House and Work of Arne Jacobsen Room 606. New York, NY.: Phaidon Press Limited.
Arne Jacobsen. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2020, from
Arne Jacobsen Architect: Biography, Buildings, Projects and Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2020, from
Kaminer, M. (2009, July 12). Copenhagen’s Royal Hotel: The First Designer Hotel. Retrieved January 30, 2020, from