Media

Zaha Hadid on sustainability

Published at: 30 September 2015

Zaha Hadid’s work may be known for many things, but sustainability is not among them. While the space-age work of her firm spans from city planning to skyscrapers, floating structures to temporary pavilions, the eco credentials of the work just don’t feature among the critique and discussion around the billion-dollar projects she is working on.

She recently gave an interview to the Sunday Telegraph that received very little attention that set out her views on sustainability. Read the interview below.

What are the most important factors when planning sustainable cities?

I think the solution lies in the convergence of many areas of research. Like many architects, we already implement sophisticated ventilation and building management systems in our projects to improve the ecological balance of a building – however, we are also researching new materials and construction methods that also bring significant environmental benefits. And 3D printing is beginning to enter the industry, offering the potential to reduce energy consumption while increasing the diversity of our built environment.

How will everyday life in 2045 have changed from today?

Contemporary society is not standing still, and its buildings must evolve with new patterns of life to meet the needs of its users. I believe what is new in our generation are the much greater levels of social complexity and connectivity. With more than 50 per cent of the world’s growing population now living in cities, contemporary urbanism and architecture must move beyond the architecture of repetition and compartmentalisation. The separation that defined buildings of the last century has been superseded by buildings that engage, integrate and adapt. Construction methods and materials yet to be developed, such as sophisticated architectural skins that can be twisted, stretched, bent and folded in whichever way imaginable, will happen. These materials will be transparent or opaque, structurally self-supporting and take any surface quality or colour one can think of. Individual buildings will communicate with and connect to the next, creating a continually changing field of separate buildings that are highly connected [and that] will contribute to a sustainable society.

London seems to see a new luxury development thrown up each month, then bought by overseas investors. Is this really sustainable living?

Building these walled cities within the city, like mini-Kremlins, is a step backwards. I think that there has to be some sort of reaction to this, because these isolated, gated communities are a very archaic way of living. There’s enough total wealth today that all people should have a good home, not just the extremely rich. Having a home is a crucial issue – not only in terms of a shelter and the basics – but also for well-being, for a better life.

What should city planners remember when building the city of the future?

Hybridisation [multi-use] buildings have become very interesting. There needs to be a major shift away from zoning – you live here, work there and play somewhere else – but layering all these uses together in the same zone totally changes the way we look at cities.

To read the original article, click here.

« Back to News