While the long-term fate of a starchitect’s legacy is impossible to predict, we feel pretty comfortable with assuming Zaha Hadid and her work will be iconic for generations. The Iraq-born architect and her team designed instantly recognizable works around the world, including the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, the Guangzhou Opera House, and the yonic Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar. Given their stature (and the way smartphone-wielding tourists often go gaga over her buildings) the next selection for our Just Booked series on gorgeous new coffee table books is Taschen’s Zaha Hadid: Complete Works 1979-Today.
Put together by Philip Jodidio, the tome is a serious but visually engrossing look at one of the post prolific and provocative architects of the last half century. (This, despite Zaha’s early death at age 65 in 2016.) The book starts with her earliest proposals (including a career-jumpstarting one for Peak Hong Kong) and her eye catching painting renderings. It then works its way through her works, giving a feel both for their evolution and yet a constant amazement at how difficult to pigeonhole she was. There are buildings that look like spaceship transports, terrifying futurist cities, sexy medical spas, and, yes, vaginas. The greatest delight, however, is in discovering details and works you might never have known about (for us it was the orange-lit bathroom in the Hotel Puerta America).