Gallery: ZAHA HADID’s Performing Arts Centre in Abu Dhabi


We’re gaga over these renderings of Zaha Hadid’s proposed Performing Arts Centre in Abu Dhabi. We haven’t heard much about how green the building will be, but we’re excited to see more and more star architects inspired by natural and organic forms (check out the leaf-like windows!). The Performing Arts Center will be part of a multi-billion dollar cultural district with other buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Tadao Ando. In her own words, Ms. Hadid describes the structure as a “biological analogy” whose primary components (branches, stems, fruits, and leaves) are then “transformed from these abstract diagrams into architectonic design.” We can only hope that such poetic biomimicry will be translated into green functions, materials, and technologies as well.

Via Dezeen via Tropolism


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  1. Amman Said July 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Damn. I’m going to show this one to Kunstler.

  2. haous mohamed December 9, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I’m in love with zaha hadid art I tried to talk to her for 15 years but I could’t I wich one day I can do it

  3. PaTrond October 30, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Oh, God of architecture. What on earth have you done?! This eats the Norwegian Opera to breakfast. The lot is nice too. In UAE (United Arabic Emirates) such things i made every year, in Norway… They’ve just started make 3 houses which is in a modern style, but still outdated compared to what many others does, especially this!

  4. 3yjxy16 September 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Kori is a bum, but very nice building

  5. hooman July 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Hadid’s paintings and drawings have always been an important testing field, and a medium for the exploration of her design

  6. reean May 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    its amazing…!!!

  7. martinito April 6, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    there is still hope…that we will be freed from the dreadful and uninspiring box-like houses with 90 degrees angles and straight lines everywhere.

  8. soheila March 16, 2008 at 7:55 am

    now we can meet the next generation of buildings,fantastic!

  9. jessica February 29, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    wonderful architect! amazing woman!

  10. cat a cata January 2, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    what i like: the space flows, structure integrated, harmony in composition, guts and challenge of the regulations.
    what i dislike: lack of contextual relations, but that’s from the suprematists first thinking – what we do is for sure new.,; no limits for costs, and for that reason nobody would ever try to do smth alike, a female trying to be a man, agresivity and too much money and so on.
    anyway, it’s better than the archt. Dubai shit.

  11. Sabir Latief December 30, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Form follow function or cart befor the horse? Is she trying to play gods and copying nature in a litteral sense?
    Nature is not static. Evolution form takes place through secltion of most appropriate functions and form follows.
    Taking a form from nature and juxtaposing brief requirement to fit the sapce and expecting a pat on the back for being an orioginal thinker – come again Zaha. You still have a long way to go.
    What will be your next inspiration – brain laid out as a form on the table and being travessed by long winding entrances? and buiding in large expanses of glass off course – do you have the next visual now? Who cares about green issues, solar gains, acoustic incompetencies, H&S hazzards and lastly money of course. As long as your client carries perto dollars and does not comprehend your asymmetrical thinking – lets call it revolutionary architecture.
    I suspect people like Mies, Gropius, Corbusier and even Lloyds of the bygone age will be turning in their grave at the your post mortum of Architecture.

  12. Nikki December 6, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Honestly, who cares what it looks like if it is built by slave laborers?

  13. Suneenuch November 18, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    I think Zaha has the guts to create new way of auditorium design…from traditional auditorium all over the world
    I agree with annie that the designers must have thought about the acoustic and glare and heat gain thing…

    just wonder what are they suppose to be??
    anyone have any ideas?

    should we coat something on the glass skin for acoustic reason ?
    like..attach transparent cloth

  14. Roben October 24, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Once again an architect, a design is disconnected from the hand, from the act of placing pen to paper. I use CAD, it is very useful for CD’s. Not so much for design.
    Did she draw this?Did she use playdough? Did she just skip it all and use some bizarre version of photoshop? The level of commitment one associates with the design of any building requires pen,paper and lots of tracing paper.
    An artist who cannot draw the human figure is not truly an artist.

  15. annie October 12, 2007 at 11:01 am

    her ideas are outta the box….vry dynamic n futuristic….of course it’ll be functional like all the other decon structures
    she has created…ppl shlould know she is a very promising architect of tomorrow…so wouldn’t she have thought about all the problems she’ll face with the acoustics,glare and so forth???give it a break the lady knows what she s doing…ppl should try to think differently than just the usual geometric shapes….i feel she is an inspiration to younger architects in the making….

  16. seyi audu September 22, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    lovely building ,i hope it takes inti consideration the peoples culture?

  17. MAZEN ODEH September 5, 2007 at 7:53 am


  18. Roger May 23, 2007 at 6:15 am

    To Architects world wide

    This message goes to all those empty soul that work crazy on those PC’s, modelling like slaves to materialize these
    Concrete Masses, dreaming that one day they will be in the so desired spotlight. Zaha Hadid has proved to be one of the greatest artistic Masterminds of 21st century, but I believe architecture is all about teamwork, so it’s time to give credit to the people behind the curtain. Cheers!

  19. azaz d calcuttawala May 13, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    she is dynamic,the way she creats the space,volume,its cool,but will tell more only after visiting her buildings.

  20. Fawaz Al-mazrooei May 2, 2007 at 5:27 am

    I think zaha hadid’s design is very ambitious and brave , not only beacuse it is in the middle east , were regulations could be harsh , but because the design itself breaks the usual boundary of architecture,. Althought the form of the design is very unusual , it is still in my opinion beautiful. i will contradict myself and say that ‘form does not follow function in this insctance’ because if i was a pedestrain walking past the building , i wouldnt know what to think it was. Although Zaha Hadid’s designs are world renouned, i think they consentrate on how good the building will look rather than how good its’ going to fulfill its function .

  21. Greg April 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Acoustically, I think there is more promise than many of the other commenters indicate. It’s a bit “trendy” (everyone wants to design a wraparound “vineyard” hall ever since Disney opened) but there’s a lot of volume to work with and the seats have a good relationship to the stage. Yes, yes, yes of course there is a ton to be done to actually make it “work” acoustically–gotta get something over the stage to help project sound evenly, for one–but for an initial design concept it’s not bad.

    The peril I see is that it is too easy to make a high-quality rendering… people mistake a concept sketch (which this is) for a finished design. Still two years worth of design work before it’s ready to build.

  22. Mike Dudek April 9, 2007 at 11:04 am

    More starchitectural dreck. Look what I can do! I can make a building look like a Rorscharch Test…or is it a dragonfly smashed on your windshield? It is devoid of any contextual response…..This building could be in Poughkeepsie or Moscw. It is unethical on many levels. Why do we celebrate this show of one upmanship or is it upwomanship?
    This building is about as organic as a piece of carved styrofoam.

  23. Yanal E Madi April 3, 2007 at 5:31 am

    The structure looks alot more Art Nouveau with a modern twist dont you think so..Its like modern twist with an old idea..

  24. Rachel March 21, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Amazingly futuristic. Can’t wait to see the end result and how it much differs from (or stays true to) the original concept.

  25. RYAN March 20, 2007 at 12:20 pm


  26. Mary March 20, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Very pretty – looks just like that vacation hot spot from the movie 5th Element. The only thing missing is the blue skinned chanteuse.
    Humor aside, I think it would be lovely and even moreso if the green, accoustic, sight line, etc factors can be addressed. Music is augmented by the surroundings in which it is played so the accoustics must be right.

  27. zaidi March 16, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Another surrealist image presented by Zaha….We expected that the virtual reality will be our new environment in the next future..

  28. amanda March 16, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    it’s easy to be a critic. Yes, acoustics, glare, etc are important considerations, but these renderings are undeniably dynamic and exciting.

  29. Heather Rouba March 16, 2007 at 10:13 am

    I think this structure is breathtaking. Regardless of what costs and obstacles that need to be overcome, such as accoustics, energy usage, glare, etc. (which I agree are vitally important), I would pay big money to sit and view a performance in this building. The view is phenomenal. The whole experience would be so surreal. And to have that kind of experience… it’s worth the money.

  30. dee March 16, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Whatever happened to “form follows function?” The function of the building must be the highest priority. This lovely structure doesn’t appear to be functional for its intended use, as has been so aptly pointed out by many posts. Does that matter to anyone? Shouldn’t that matter to everyone? No matter how magnificent a structure may look, it is a monstrosity and a travesty if it cannot perform its duty. It would be an incredible waste of time, money, energy, land and creativity if that should happen. Zaha needs to go “back to the drawing board” with conscience and answer some of the objections raised in these blogs.

  31. EDWIN D'VALLE March 16, 2007 at 8:32 am


  32. Cj March 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Its magnificant, in all possible ways. If this were to be built, it would give me hope for the future of mankind

  33. Meredith March 10, 2007 at 11:30 am

    There is some really interesting architecture going on in Abu Dahbi now, but I think it is interesting that many architects aren’t taking traditional arabic architectural design into consideration. It seems a huge leap, and I wonder how the local people like this? Maybe they love it? Just curious….. Or is it not being designed for people who actually live in that country?
    Also am concerned about the heat- all those windows in that climate?!

  34. Michael Shea March 9, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    This is an esoteric exercise…clearly. From an acoustic point of view, and from a practical facilities maintenance point of view, this thing is a disaster. The best architects of all time didn’t make great buildings, they created spaces that were in fact incredible experiences. This one LOOKS like it could be an incredible experience, but most likely it won’t sound like one. Ouch.

  35. Shambhavi March 9, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    If her buildings are anything like her website. . . ouch

  36. lorette March 9, 2007 at 6:41 am

    absolutely phenomenal !

  37. Ramakrishnan venugopalr... March 8, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I like this.

  38. Irene Van Davinci March 8, 2007 at 9:26 pm


  39. Aaron Plewke March 8, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Emily, inhabitat etc, there is a large point being overlooked here, one that really has nothing to do with energy efficiency and the like. I encourage you to follow the link posted below. The critical dialogue there may illuminate some of the frustration directed at this whimsical post.


  40. Nothanks March 8, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    1. How is the sun going to travel across the inside? Which seats are going to have very upset people?

    2. What planning went into the seating arrangement? Do people really want to be sitting behind a band or a play? Couldn’t she come up with a better use of space? Look at all the empty space (unusable but still requiring a/c).

    3. What are the acoustics going to be like? Will natural sound carry, will it bleed through the amplified sound system, will some areas end up much louder than others? Will there be dead areas where you can’t hear anything?

    I’ll take usability over design, unless we’re just sticking with the renderings.

  41. Emily March 8, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    I’m glad this is inspiring such a heated debate. By posting these renderings we were hoping to incite such a conversation. To quell some of the opposition, however, I’d like to point out that just by posting the renderings, we are in no way putting it out there as a supremely green building, but rather noting that the FORM is inspired by organic forms, and that we HOPE this translates into some green building technologies, materials, etc. Unfortunately there is not a ton of information out there on this project yet, so we’ll keep you posted.

  42. the critic March 8, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Regardlezz of what Zaha’z building lookz like [az that is beside the point] zhe weavez an amazing concept of zpace. Hard to compair to FLW though az FLW and Zaha have radically different zpatial conceptz.

  43. johnny March 8, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Zaha is the next Frank!

  44. PB March 8, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    dumb as usual. what is the fundamental advantage of blobs?

    the space is not good, it’s just ‘different’ at any cost – literally.

  45. Jeff March 8, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Sightlines and Acoustics anybody?

  46. DivaShop March 8, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Absolutely Breathtaking!

  47. Eco Tom March 8, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Heat Gain- it will be an energy pig

    Glare and Acoustics- it’ll sound like crap but you won’t be able to see the performers anyway.

    A disaster in the making but that never stopped Queen Starchitect from imperiously sneering at her critics as philistine insects. All hail the empress- now go find her something to wear.

  48. Kalp Kartik March 8, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    True, we dont know the green-worth of this building……what with air-conditioning, what with acoustics, what with reclamation of land(if any)..we just dont know…..but full marks for being flambuoyant… the time only will tell…

  49. T. Kubala March 8, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Pseudo organic shapes do not an organic building make. The telling is in the Wholeness of the design, which from where I stand, is barely perceivable. Sustainable design must be whole… to quote Christopher Alexander…“…the beauty of a building, its life, and its capacity to support life all come from the fact that it is working as a whole. A view of the building as a whole means that we see it as part of an extended and undivided continuum.” I don’t think this building passes this critical test.

  50. renegade arch March 8, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    “This woman is the Frank Lloyd Wright of today.”

    E.J. Bisch, could you please elaborate on this comment? There is no clear relationship between the two in their approach and the ideas are not ground breaking or wildly original. They are nice pieces of art.

    If you mean she is arrogant like the stories of FLW portray him as being, then you would be correct in making this assumption.

    p.s. there are other ‘famous’ architects from the past other than FLW. Also, I don’t think you have the mindset or patients to understand a box as being more than just “blah” so please don’t comment on something you know nothing about.

  51. WonderK March 8, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Who cares if it’s organic looking? I would be much more impressed if they used their fancy modeling software to make it actually ORGANIC, as opposed to yet another stagnant architectural drain on fossil fuels.

  52. taber March 8, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    What about the heat gain and glare that would be created from so much glass?

  53. Oshman March 8, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    you people are weird!
    ive never people jizz so much when talking about Zaha.
    i mean the design is ok. but “Art Nouveau… “Frank LLoyd Wright of today”…
    i mean they are renderings. Zaha probably didnt even touch the design, its like any geek who is into architecture can make something that looks like this…
    if she can get it built then that may be remarkable, except for the fact that it is in abu dhabi and eveything there hype.

  54. Aaron Plewke March 8, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    imperialism is imperialism, boxy or blobby.

  55. Tom J. Schmitt March 8, 2007 at 10:51 am

    beautiful! I love the design.

  56. E.J. Bisch March 8, 2007 at 10:13 am

    This woman is the Frank Lloyd Wright of today. What an amazing structure. A complete departure from box building blahs.

  57. Al Arioli March 8, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Hadid’s buildings are beautiful. Impossible to sit on her sofas, though.

  58. Richie March 8, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Ms Hadid’s design is so very beautiful, as are all her designs. I’m concerned that it will not be as ‘beautiful’ and successful in fulfilling it’s intended use, however. The problem is large expanses of glass. This is a nightmare scenario acoustically. Glass is a severely sound reflective material. This is why large amounts of it are NEVER used in music performing spaces or theaters. Oftentimes, in spite of the sound absorbtion aspects of humans sitting in plush seating… concert halls have acoustic baffling on the walls and ceiling. It’s also worth noting that these sound baffle treatments are added after the halls have been built; because all the mathematical projections rendered and thereafter factored into these designs, were not able to accurately predict the final reality of the sonic response of these Concert Halls/performance spaces before they were built. (Strange but True !) Ms Hadid’s design does not seem to leave room for this kind of achitectural ‘tuning’ of the room after it is constructed. And quite frankly, I find this a shocking oversight for such a spectacular and world renowned architect as herself !

    But then again, it was not beyond another historic and world renowned architect, such as I.M.Pei, to design the Javitts Convention Center in New York City… so that its total expanse of glass could NOT be cleaned from the inside ! I mean… isn’t there someone who kind of checks on the wild creativity of such designs and their designers ?

    And… speaking of GLASS… how is the glass of Ms Hadids ‘Performing Arts Centre in Dubai’ going to be cleaned !?!?

  59. Paul Balez March 8, 2007 at 6:12 am

    The retourn of “Art Nouveau” ?

    I hope it is :-)

  60. Bryce March 8, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Gorgeous. Just lovely.

  61. Cattle Kate March 7, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I totally agree, but I think you’ll find that insects and plants share a lot of common looks/lines/etc. The veins in a leaf are strikingly similar to the wings of a fly. I almost prefer that it can go back and forth… it can be both or neither.

  62. the.arctic March 7, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    I’d say the windows look more like the wings of an insect than a leaf. Given that they follow a seemingly less ordered arrangement. A dragonfly was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the building.

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