We’ve long been impressed by the architectural works of Zaha Hadid. Their swooping, curved lines and unconventional shapes have always stood out and made even the most ordinary parking garage look incredible. So, it’s no surprise that Hadid was recently awarded the 2014 Design of the Year from London’s Design Museum, specifically for the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. The project is not only the first architectural design to win this prestigious honor, but Hadid is also the first woman to receive the prize.
The Design of the Year Award is in its seventh year and annually recognizes the most innovative and interesting designs from 70 nominated entries in architecture, design, fashion, furniture, graphics, product, and transport. After an expert panel selects the finalists within each category, seven shortlisted designs are considered for the big prize. The jury praised the Heydar Aliyev Center for its “intoxicatingly beautiful design” and as the “clear vision of a singular genius.”
The civic building houses a museum, auditorium, and exhibition space in the country’s capital. It’s a departure from the rigid lines of Soviet architecture and is meant to symbolize a step towards a more optimistic and modern future for Azerbaijan. The stunning fluid, white shell flows continuously throughout the structure and connects the building’s interior and exterior with the surrounding environment.