The constant shaping of a cities skyline consists of futuristic buildings with inspiring features. Our advanced knowledge of technologyhas allowed there to be, the creation of slimline computers, smartphones and hybrid cars, showcasing new heights of innovation. The architectural influences on society have come into realisation.
Arts and craft based on pure imagination, constructed on functional spaces of the past, have come into actuality, and have been represented in its rarest forms of geometric construction. The world is coming to terms with a pro-tech, modernistic attitude towards the growth of newer high development futures. This piece of writing aims to explore how the views of futurism are reflected in today’s architecture, particularly looking at Zaha Hadid Architect’s Antwerp Port House. The late architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950 – 2016), a feminist in architecture, a pioneer for women in design, was recognised all around the world for her intense de-constructivist, neo-modernistic approach within the architectural industry, showcased by her abstract designs consisting of, forms of morph, shape-changing geometries, and abstraction, with the intention of breaking the rules of space. Furthermore, her designs incorporated cutting-edge re-shaped surfaces to appear as deformed geometric shapes, almost crystal-like debris. This is similarly shown in the work of futurist Sant’Elia, where he imagined newer cities to have towering apartments and facades of glass. I believe Hadid has truly shown this aspect within her designs and has influenced further change within her architectural style, being driven by technology. The Antwerp Port House, designed by Hadid has signified the battle between past and present.
Similarly through the concept of futurism, and its rejection towards traditional conventions, the production of the art form from first principles that are in accordance with the industrial and mechanical world that surrounded it. The redundant 20th-century fire station also previously used as a warehouse represents the past, whilst the present is shown through the multifaceted shape of the extension seeking to undermine the original host building through subversion, as well as ignoring and seeking no acknowledgement whatsoever of the building below. The building is never misunderstood when it comes to understanding what is new and old, with the exception, perhaps, of the short movement between the panoramic lift leaving the former fire station and entering the first floor of the office building. The extension seeks to glorify the technological advances of the dynamic modern world through its sharp angled facades and its choice of high-tech materiality, predominately consisting of glass and aluminium, having no relationship to the qualities of its subdued host.Futurism an avant-garde movement of the 20th century,formerly constituted in Italy, just before the First World War. A movement seeking to oppress the weight of past cultures andlifestyles, instead encouraging to celebrate the modern world of industry and technology.
The work of futurists used elements of neo-impressionism and cubism to create compositions that expressed the idea of the dynamism, the energy and movement of modern life. The Works of Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, Umberto Boccioni, underline these ideologies, such as the abstract Speed and Sound Painting of 1913, 1912, Dancer at Pigalle, oil painting, and the 1914 Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Action sculpture.These pieces of work have not only influenced its expression through art but through the way we live today. The movement has influenced generations of architects including Hadid, allowing them to see a city in a more radicalised manner, a site of speed and constant change, based on the possibilities of ever advancing technologies. The belief of imagining the impossible. Hadid, whose ethnic background was that of an Iranian descent, understood and captured her surroundings from a very young age.
The open society of Bagdad, allowed her younger self to witness architecture and its impression on society. It was very much what influenced her into pursuing the craft, andthat the injection of a new building could drive a cities economy as well as culture, but most importantly seek to develop a city through the understanding of change and future. Seemingly the Antwerp project aimed to bring together 500 staff that were working in various parts of the city, allowing them to operate more efficiently by centralising the administrative and technical services of the port.
The addition of the office complex was to further contribute to the development of the city and encourage an upgrade tothe local area, through the extension’s modern and technological approach. The best way to rebrand a certain area is by encouraging change, and this is what Hadid did by introducing the Antwerp Port House. The design of the port house was very much influenced by the encouragement of newer technologies and shows a clear contrast between the two buildings. The mentioning of “time and space dyeing yesterday”, is truly conceptualised within the project, with the aged and derelict composition of the former fire station, and the contemporary intervention of the upscale office hovering over representing that of ‘life within today’s world’, which is constantly chaining.
According to Hadid, “People forget what you can do through modern work, there was an obsession with historicism, vernacular, and postmodern design, so the idea of ‘new’ was almost alien.” 3 complementary of the movement of futurism, the quote shows Hadid’s perception of the world, and how we can sometimes become fixated on a regular way of life, that change is in order. Zaha Hadid has been a true inspiration for may upcoming architects, myself included, and has shown that there a no limitations to what can be done through architecture. That the new, should always be embraced not discouraged, and that what is to come tomorrow, should not be hindered by today.