Top 4 Art Museums by Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid designed several projects of worldwide art museums that well-demonstrated her architectural concept and how it is dealt with the primary objective of the museum and the site specificity. I chose four of them to mainly focus on museums of art and architecture.

MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts

ROME, ITALY (2009)

The vision ‘innovation, multiculturalism, and interdisciplinary’ of this Italian public museum allows various spatial capability as design, fashion, cinema, art, and architecture exhibition space on a former military ground. It consists of two institutions, MAXXI Arte and MAXXI Architecture, which collects, exhibits, and studies contemporary works. An internal complexity of the museum is well-generated by space and volume interweaving, sinuous shapes, and a structural roof system of allowing natural light. Its usage of three main architectural elements- concrete walls, a glass roof, and steel stairs are constantly interweaving and intersecting to direct harmonious texture of indoor and outdoor spaces as well as our routes to a specific space. Instead of a term ‘museum,’ it rather is suitable for experimentation and as a center to embrace social interaction.

Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum


Investigating and stretching its vibrant and dynamic perception of contemporary culture, the Art museum of Michigan State University contains exhibition spaces for modern and contemporary art, new media, photography, and special projects as well as education facilities. The design that is generated from its topography and circulation around the campus, embraces a complexity of geometric envelope with a combination of pleated stainless steel and glass. The keyword here is spatial movement. Different pathways form its orientation. They constantly extend and fold within directional pleats.

Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art


The urban dynamic space of the Contemporary Arts Center has become an independent free-standing building to hold temporary exhibitions since 1939. A non-collection architecture is more conceived as multi-purpose public space of an art presenter with cultural approach from the city itself. A mixture of concrete volumes and voids leads to a variety of functionality. It is Zaha Hadid’s first museum project with the architectural concept of ‘a jigsaw puzzle’ that incorporates a diversity of dimension and depth of spaces and lighting schemes within its stacked volumes. Read its well-descriptive observation here by New York Times.

The most important American building to be completed since the end of the cold war. – New York Times

It currently holds Passage, the exhibition of Do Ho Suh (celebrated Korean American artist), until September 11, 2016. Check out his iconic installations here.

Ordrupgaard Museum Extension


Built in 1918 as a country estate, Ordrupgaard has been public since 1953 with a collection of French Impressionist and Danish paintings owned by Wilhelm Hansen. The extension at Ordrupgaard Museum by Zaha Hadid allows an interacting landscape flow from the garden and into the space. A new concrete-skin structure that incorporates with the existing buildings is providing the unlimited and continuous experience to the visitors.  A concrete folding of new galleries with generated seamless curves creates consistency with the surrounding landscape. A glass facade allows visual transition between exterior and interior spaces and a sloping ramp acts to divide galleries.

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