zaha hadid: “the world is not a rectangle”

September 23, 2013 — 4 Comments

In an interview with The Guardian, architect Zaha Hadid talks about resisting rectangular design. “The world is not a rectangle,” she insists. “You don’t go into a park and say: ‘My God, we don’t have any corners.'”


4 responses to zaha hadid: “the world is not a rectangle”


    This is not a new idea, we have talked a lot about designing buildings & cities on circular or curved basis. Other architects have taken this path a long time ago. I hope such ideas will improve our lives.


    ZH’s statement seems to me like a false statement for public consumption. The natural world may not be rectangular but a lot of the built environment is. Buildings are artificial things. A lot of time and money is wasted trying to make them look as if they are.

    I have nothing against curves and circles as both are very efficient structurally. Curved walls require less cross bracing. Parabolic arches require less material. Corrugated iron sheets require less stiffening. However, curves for the sake of curves are merely a new form of ornament – an updated Art Nouveau.


    # of ornament


    Given traditional architecture’s bias toward rectangles and straight lines, I think she’s making a valid point. The overwhelming majority of buildings follow a rectangular plan, not merely for functional reasons, but for reasons of convention and conventionality. Put simply, in the developed world round and curved structures are seen as odd, unusual, unnatural, and provocative. I have dozens of news articles about round houses; the adjectives employed to describe the house range from “unique,” when the journalist wants to praise the house’s daring, to, just as often, “weird.” This is nonsense. As Hadid points out later in the interview, insisting on rectangular construction is “like saying that everyone has to write in exactly the same way.”

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