What Kind of Building Content Would Zaha Hadid Have Made?

What can we say about Zaha Hadid?  That she was well known and well regarded as an elite designer, to be sure.  Whether or not her work struck your fancy or aligned with your own design tendencies, there is no denying that her work struck *a chord* with just about everyone (whether it was a positive or a negative chord is always game for discussion).

The works of Dame Hadid continue to intrigue me, as does her career- and the hardships and struggles she endured in that career.  To be sure, anyone pushing boundaries and working on the edge of style, materiality, and complex form work would face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Then I reflect back on the small niche of the industry I (or we) work in, and how much strife we think we face as we work on things like: International Standards for Content, International standards for typical building drawings, Model Formats, technology and software.  It’s ironic that the majority of the work centered on standardization and Content stems from needing to define, classify, and otherwise organize… things that have already been defined.  7b05be18228c96ca39e1777d02e02e6d

As we are gearing up for the Building Content Summit 2016, that point continues to ring home for me:  We face a need to better align our strategies of Content Development, Content Strategies, and Content Procurement… And yet, most of us (myself included, for sure) still consider “Content” to be most of the things that we use on “most of the projects.”  I personally cannot imagine what the struggles must have been like, to work on “content” or designs with Zaha Hadid.  Content as Building Forms, Content as seriously complex glazing systems melded with the complex forms they generated, content as cladding that morphs from a roof to a wall to a floor in a single envelope.


What does it mean to completely re-think, or re-engineer what an “object” is?  When is a roof not just a roof?  And going back to the most simplistic content I work in, when is a door not a door?  When is a wall both a wall and a roof, and what does it mean when a building envelope is both a wall, a window, a roof, and landscape?


I spend most of my days in the “refinement” area of the profession, where others like Zaha Hadid spent their time in the more intense (and intimidating) “Challenging Concepts and Leading Vision” portion of the profession.  While I sit this week and work on refining elements that have been *known quantities* for years in the Building and Construction Industry, I will continue to be sad. That last week, we lost a visionary, who persevered through criticism and tribulations, to deliver some of the most engaging *Building Content* I’ve seen.  We lost a great Architect, Designer, and Building Content Creator.  As we all work on various forms of *content* this week, let’s not forget to tip our hats to the real innovators out there, who are changing the game, for the rest of us to follow.

Zaha Hadid. 1950-2016.

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