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Design as Second Nature' : Zaha Hadid Architects first exhibition in Latin America

‘Design As Second Nature’ at the University Contemporary Art Museum (MUAC), Mexico City explores Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) methodology and creative process, showcasing the studio’s 40 years of research into new design and construction techniques as well as material innovations.

Through models, paintings, photography, film and interactive virtual reality, ‘Design As Second Nature’ has been curated by Woody Yao, director of Zaha Hadid Design and presents ZHA’s ongoing research and technological innovations that are transforming the way we imagine, design and construct our built environment.

A new installation commissioned for this exhibition, KnitCandela is a result of a collaboration between Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (BRG) and Zaha Hadid Architects Computation & Design research group (ZHCODE) with Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex).

Project CORREL, an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) experience by Zaha Hadid Virtual Reality (ZHVR) group will also be presented within the show from mid November, demonstrating ZHA’s ground-breaking applications of VR in their design processes and research into this evolving medium.

Design at the confluence of many disciplines

ZHA has redefined architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations across the globe. Form and space are woven within the structure of buildings that evolve from their surroundings and tie disparate programs together. Enticingly contextual, each project combines an unwavering optimism for the future with concepts of connectivity and integration.

Receiving the highest honors from civic, professional and academic institutions worldwide, ZHA is one of the world’s most consistently inventive architectural studios—and has been for four decades.

These 40 years of research are inscribed within every design. Marrying innovative digital design methods with ecologically sound materials and sustainable construction practices, ZHA does not look at the disparate parts, but works to understand them as a whole to build the aspirations of a new generation.

In over 50 award-winning projects around the world, ZHA’s architecture becomes more refined spatially, more efficient structurally, more polished materially, more advanced technologically—and generally more resolved—with each new design.

At the forefront of architectural experimentation, the ZHCODE’s knowledge and research in programming, geometry and mathematics harnesses the tremendous new opportunities of inter-disciplinary collaboration between architects, engineers and emerging digital manufacturing methods. ZHCODE develops new design methods as well as enables an exploration of the organisation and articulation of space within the bounds of physical, economic, and ergonomic feasibility.

Patrik Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, explains, “Architecture does not exist in a bubble. Collaboration and research is the very foundation of ZHA. Robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and big data are all impacting architecture, and enabling the industry to address complex issues. We strongly believe in this collective, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and these rapidly evolving technologies are changing the way we design and construct.”

Applying contemporary, algorithmic methods and parametric tools, ZHCODE’s ongoing research is a test-bed for the full-scale deployment of new material and manufacturing technologies at an architectural scale.

Celebrating Mexico’s long relationship with Felix Candela, whose innovative shell structures integrated concrete technologies of the period with Mexico’s rich building traditions and skills, BRG and ZHCODE with R-Ex, have developed the KnitCandela experimental structure installed within the MUAC courtyard. KnitCandela applies the latest research in knitted formwork for curved geometries in concrete that are both structurally and materially efficient. This experimental structure demonstrates the confluence of the digital design, engineering and fabrication, where the technological and material advancements of KnitCrete, developed at ETH Zurich, provides a time-effective system to create light-weight, structurally efficient and geometrically fluid shapes in concrete.

Zaha Hadid Design
Founded in 1979 by Zaha Hadid, the studio explores new concepts at all scales: from city masterplans and skyscrapers to furniture pieces, product designs and jewelry. Collaborating with the world’s most renowned furniture-makers and fashion houses, Hadid established Zaha Hadid Design in 2006, creating limited-edition design pieces and collections informed by ZHA’s architecture and inventive methodologies. Showcased within the MUAC exhibition, ZHD’s work conveys the craftsmanship of their manufacture the studio’s virtuosity with fluid geometries.

Zaha Hadid Architects in Latin America
The exhibition also presents a selection of architectural projects the studio has proposed in Latin America. These projects include those in development as well as unrealized proposals such the seminal design for the JVC Center in Guadalajara (2000) and Mexico City Airport (2014) designed in collaboration with Serrano Arquitectos y Asociados, S.C.

The British Council Mexico, strategic partner of the exhibition
The British Council joins MUAC´s as a strategic partner. In the last four years of collaboration, the institutions have created a platform for multiple collaboration, which includes the support to several curatorial projects with contemporary British artists, and the dialog and inter-institutional collaboration around critical museology through the William Bullock International Cathedra and the William Bullock/FEMAM prize.

Following the opening lecture by Patrick Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, at 12:00hrs, the ‘Design As Second Nature’ exhibition will be inaugurated at 13:00hrs on 20 October.

The exhibition ends on the 3rd of March 2019.

MUAC website