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'Close Up - Work & Research' at MAM Shanghai

  • Shanghai, China
  • 03/07/2021 – 29/08/2021
  • MAM Shanghai

MAM Shanghai presents the first exhibition of Zaha Hadid Architects in mainland China, with a retrospective display of projects dating from 1982 to today.

Defined by a timeline of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) formative works in China, 'ZHA Close Up' at MAM Shanghai explores the pioneering research and interconnecting relationships that unite their projects around the globe, detailing the technological innovations that are transforming how the studio imagines, designs and constructs built environments.

Running until 29 August 2021, the exhibition examines the evolution of Zaha Hadid Architects’ buildings over the last 40 years—from the flowing urban spaces of the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010) and Leeza SOHO in Beijing (2019) to the studio’s ground-breaking projects currently in development across six continents—demonstrating a consistent desire to innovate and inspire.

Founded by the late Zaha Hadid in 1979, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) redefined architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations across the globe. Hadid was a major figure in the world of architecture and the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She first travelled to China in 1981 at the very beginning of her career. Like her birthplace Iraq, carved by the Euphrates and the Tigris, China’s natural landscapes and urban settlements have been shaped through history by its great rivers and waterways. Travelling from north to south, visiting many Chinese cities to experience its art and architecture, Hadid studied the methods that embed its historic architecture within the great theatre of natural landscapes.

ZHA’s competition-winning design for the Peak Club in Hong Kong (1982-1983) manifests Hadid’s investigations into the fluid relationships between building and site, interior and exterior, architecture and engineering. Defined by the topography of the surrounding mountainside, in this and later seminal projects such as the Guangzhou Opera House (2010) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (2019), ZHA’s work echoes the coherence of the nature in an organic architectural language generating unrivalled spatial experiences that are intuitive to navigate and recognised around the world.

'ZHA Close Up' explores the journey of four decades of experimentation that are inscribed within ZHA’s architecture and has seen their designs become more spatially inventive, more structurally efficient, more technologically advanced and more environmentally sensitive with each new design and positions their work at the forefront of architectural practice.

Showcasing projects that have received highest honours from civic, professional and academic institutions worldwide, 'ZHA Close Up' will present the studio’s pioneering research to improve how the industry designs and constructs:

Sustainability - the application of detailed environmental analysis and geometry optimization techniques to maximize efficient design with less waste and consumption of resources.
Computation & Design - collaboration with the world’s most respected scientific institutions to develop innovations in robotics, artificial intelligence and digital fabrication.
ZH Social - investigation of the social interaction processes to be expected in the designed environments via agent-based simulations with differentiated agent populations and decision processes.
Analytics & Insights - data analytics and human behaviour modelling to design healthy and productive working environments that are tailor-made to overall and individual wellness.
Virtual Reality - demonstrating the remarkable possibilities immersive technologies will offer architects to collaborate and design in augmented reality.

The exhibition will also present Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD), formed in 2006 out of a need to create a separate platform to share Hadid’s distinct dialogue of contemporary design, although the ZHD portfolio encompasses 40 years of research. Today it is defined by Hadid’s inventive methodology and signature design in furniture, lighting and fashion which transcends boundaries and has a global following. ZHD has partnered with iconic brands to create exceptional one-off and limited edition pieces which form part of some of the world’s most esteemed museum collections. Each piece effortlessly conveys immaculate craftsmanship and Hadid’s virtuosity with fluid geometry. Launched in 2014 under its own label, the ‘ZHD Collection’ further expresses Hadid’s vision in an uncompromising pursuit of excellence and non-conformity to define the acclaimed brand and ensure its timeless and revered presence within the design world.

Zaha Hadid Architects

Principal: Patrik Schumacher


Zaha Hadid Architects

Exhibition Design and Graphics

Zaha Hadid Architects

Overall Exhibition Design and Curation

Melodie Leung, Gerhild Orthacker, Manon Janssens,
Woody Yao (ZHD), Daria Zolotareva, Thomas Bagnoli,
Nica Sabet, Alex Turner, Elena Castaldi

Local Coordination

Satoshi Ohashi, Yang Jingwen, Ziyan Xu 许子言,
Nan Jiang 蒋南, Congyue Wang 王丛月


Henry Virgin


Christy Yin, Leeanne Li, Ziyan Xu, Juan Liu, Nan Jiang, Yuanxi Huang, Jianfei Chu


Helmut Kinzler, Aleksandra Mnich-Spraiter


Kar-Hwa Ho, Aleksandra Mnich-Spraiter

ZH-AI / Analytics + Insights

Philipp Siedler, Uli Blum


Tyson Hosmer, Ziming He, Baris Erdincer


Marie-Perrine Plaçais, Carlos Bausa Martinez


Shajay Bhooshan, Henry David Louth, Federico Borello

Zaha Hadid Design

Woody Yao, Maha Kutay, Margarita Valova, Filipa Gomes, Dana Blaker, Weilong Xie, Johanna Huang, Filippo Nassetti

Model Makers

Guangzhou Gaojie Model Design And Manufacturing Co.
香港港基模型 RJ Models

Modern Art Museum Shanghai 上海艺仓美术馆

Director: Derek YU / 馆长:余光照
Deputy Director: Adrien Weng / 副馆长:翁崇轩
Exhibition Team: Ruby Zhan 詹依萍, Jerry Wang 王尧, Trinity Tian 田令仪

A special thank you to our lenders and sponsors

Mercury Towers
SOHO 中国 / Courtesy of SOHO China
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
江河集团 / Jangho Co.
新鸿基地产 / Sun Hong Kai Properties (SHKP)
恒基地产 / Henderson Land
深圳工务署 / Shenzhen Bureau of Public Works
虹桥文化中心 / Hongqiao Cultural Centre
深圳市投资控股有限公司 / Shenzhen Investment Holdings Co.
西安商业中心建设开发有限公司 / Xi‘an CBD Construction Development Co.
Hélène Binet and ammann//gallery
Zaha Hadid Foundation

Exhibition Sponsors

孙洁 Jane Sun
蔡一栋 George Cai
GROHE 德国高仪
上海大界机器人科技有限公司 Roboticplus.AI
Xi‘an CBD Construction Development Co.