The Emblem Collection presents the multi-award winning architect Zaha Hadid, a fierce advocate for women in the creative fields and innovation in architecture. Today, we introduce Part A of some of the buildings that Zaha Hadid, the “Queen of the Curve”, will be remembered for:

1. Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein (1994)
Hadid’s first completed project – a complex construction of tilted and clashing planes – looks very different from her later, organic designs. “A clear demonstration of the rhetorical power of architecture – and the possibility of achieving impressive effects with modest means,” said the Architectural Review, admiring the “gestural, pointy porch that yells ‘Emergency!’” Its daring geometries proved too much for the firemen, who moved out, leaving the building to become an events space.

2. Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg (2005)
The Phaeno science centre “condenses a lot of the things that have been in my work for a long, long time”, Hadid said, while a critic described it as “an astonishing, exhilarating concrete and steel vortex of a building – somewhere you go to experience the operatic power of space”. Raised on fat concrete cones, it is a cathedral of jagged angles, looming curves, fractured planes and daring protrusions, its 154-meter length seeming to hover in the air.

3. Evelyn Grace Academy, London (2008)
This £36m Z-shaped school in Brixton, south London – with a running track tunnelling right through it and out the other side – beat another hot favourite to win the Stirling Prize. Given that the hot favourite was the Olympic velodrome, this was the year when Hadid – whose office was a former school – finally felt she was being acknowledged in Britain. k.”

4. Guangzhou opera house, Guangzhou (2010)
“Like pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion,” was how Hadid herself described this £130m building, which was designed to blend in perfectly with its riverside setting. Regarded as one of the most alluring opera houses ever built, it boasted a folded, flowing glass structure that let light flood in. The creation was inaugurated with the first ever performance in China of Puccini’s Turandot, a controversial opera in the country. But the “erosion” was a little more severe than planned: a year after the building opened, cladding panels were already falling off. [Photo Credits: Iwan Baan]

5. Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi (2010)
With its swooping arches and curves intended to emulate the rippling of sand dunes, this 842-metre bridge hangs on the horizon like a frozen scribble. Named after the country’s principal architect and former president, the £200m structure – spanning the Maqtah channel – is perhaps at its best at night, when coloured lighting floods its spine. [Photo Credits: Christian Richters]

6. Riverside museum, Glasgow (2011)
Hadid’s first major building in Britain, dubbed “Glasgow’s Guggenheim” and winner of the 2013 European museum of the year award. Beneath a stunning zinc-clad zigzag roof, a 36m-high glazed frontage overlooks the river Clyde. The steel-framed structure, built on the site of an old shipyard, houses a column-free, 7,000 square meter exhibition space. Costing £74m, it has been criticized for its display strategy – in which many exhibits are placed high up on the wall too far from view. [Photo Credits: Hufton & Crow]

7. London aquatics centre, Stratford (2012)
The “most jaw-dropping municipal swimming pool in the world”, according to the Guardian. Originally built for the 2012 Olympics at a cost of £269m, this cathedral-like space seats houses two 50-metre pools and seats for 2,500 spectators. Its wave of a roof rests on just three concrete supports, and huge windows let the light flood in. [Photo Credits: Hufton & Crow]

8. Heydar Aliyev cultural center, Baku (2012)
All swooping curves and flowing space, this 619,000-square-foot complex in the capital of Azerbaijan won the London Design Museum award in 2014; one judge called it “as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt”. The softly folded roof shelters a museum, an auditorium and a multi-purpose hall. Reports put the cost at $250m. Human rights groups have criticized the project for seeing families forcibly evicted from their homes on the site. [Photo Credits: Iwan Baan]

9. Galaxy Soho, Beijing (2012)
Possibly the most space-age-looking of all Hadid’s works, this spooling creation comprises four domed structures linked by a ravishing mixture of bridges and platforms flowing around what can only be called a central canyon. Like a smoothed off mille-feuille, the 18-storey retail, office and entertainment colossus boasts interior courts intended to reflect traditional Chinese architecture – although it has been criticized by local heritage groups for flattening an area of historic hutongs. [Photo Credits: Iwan Baan]

10. Ordrupgaard Extension | Copenhagen
With the Riverside, she mimicked the river Clyde and at the Ordrupgard Extension in Copenhagen, she listened to the undulations of the surrounding landscape. The garden is also reflected in the semi-transparent panes of glass which provide both privacy and a connection to nature. During the design, Hadid took great care to reflect the proportions of the original 1918 building and the resulting effect is one of modernity and elegance. [Photo Credits: Ordrupgaard Extension Museum © Flickr]

11. Dongdaemun Design Plaza | Seoul
This powerful, curving structure is now a major landmark in Seoul, South Korea. An embodiment of Neo-Futurism, in many ways this is a sister to Glasgow’s Riverside Museum. Both take on flowing forms with dynamic lines of light and a distinct Hadid style. In contrast to Riverside, there are no sharp angles in Dongdaemun Design Plaza – soft, smooth curves only. At night, the building is lit up like Hokusai’s Great Wave, sparkling with pixelated light. [Photo Credits: Dongdaemun Design Plaza | Seoul © Nestor Lacle]

12. Pierresvives | Montpellier
A building that unifies the archive, library, and sports department has to fulfill three identities in one work of architecture. This accomplishment is one of Hadid’s great triumphs. The concrete and geometric qualities of Pierresvives are reassuring aspects for archives and libraries, but the lunging, projecting forms embody the sports aspect. This is a building that brings together these disparate purposes and creates a single architectural force establishing itself in the canon of architecture.[Photo Credits:Pierresvives | Montpellier © Jean-Baptiste Maurice]

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