Designed and built as an event and exhibition space for the 1999 garden festival in Weil am Rhein, Germany, our Landesgardenschau – Landscape Formation One – was one in a sequence of Zaha Hadid Architects projects intended to elicit new fluid spatialities from an ongoing study of natural landscapes, including river deltas, mountain ranges, forests, deserts, ice flows and oceans.
In contrast to conventional urban and architectural spaces, natural landscapes typically contain a multitude of subtly differentiated territorial definitions and smooth spatial transitions. In the context of traditional architectural principles and practice, these features might be considered to lack order and clarity. We disagree with this point of view – believing that they liberate a more complex and nuanced way of ordering spaces.
Such spaces are evident in Landscape Formation One – a structure which, far from sitting against the landscape as an isolated object, actually bleeds out of and dissolves back into the surrounding natural topography.
Its design utilizes the fluid geometry of a network of surrounding paths, which entangle and intertwine to form the building – trapping four parallel, interwoven spaces in the process and running alongside, over and even diagonally through the structure.
The main spaces – exhibition hall and café – run along these naturally emerging paths, admitting natural sunlight and providing contrasting views to the exterior. Secondary rooms ‘disappear’ into the root of the building, with the environmental centre half submerged to take advantage of the isolating quality of the earth itself. The building also features a south-facing terrace, solar energy sources and sunken beam which also serves as a mezzanine.