Tuesday, June 24, 2008
015. A Night at the Opera
Hadid's Opera House in Dubai is the first true architecture of the 21st Century. Digital. Sleek. Perfect. So why build it?
That most celebrated of building types, the Opera House has given us culture barns such as La Scala in Milan, the Beaux Art Paris Opera, and of course Utzon's masterpiece in Sydney. If Sydney Opera House was the iconic building of the 20th Century, perhaps Hadid's Dubai Opera House might be the definitive work of this.
It is the culimination of the proceses her practice has been exploring throgh projects such as the Phaeno Centre, the BMW building, and the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Rome. Traditional architectural elements are dissolved, the arrangement of spaces determined by the composition. Form follows function is an antiquated concept these days, but here function is a mere conceit. Form follows more form.
Form rides everything is where parametric modelling leads - an aesthetic darwinism of evolved appearances. You can see it in almost every project to come form the DRL at the AA, the farm team for Zaha Hadid Architects, and where Patrik Schumacher teaches.
With this project, walls and roof are united into a sleek 'hull', transformed by parametric process which warped slice and skew the form into a sensuous, sinuous form that rises and twists it's way across the dunes.
The sheer beauty of the renderings is breathtaking. I want to inhabit its spaces (virtually). I want to fly through it. I want to explore its surface, its textures and materials. But I have no intention of visiting it.
The only reason to build it is to prove it is buildable, that the building can capture the essence of the renderings.
But the reality will never live up to the beauty of the proposals. So why bother?
The future of architecture is not Dubai, but Dezeen.