Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid Architects, named after the previous president and father of the sitting president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, according to Transparency International head of one of the most corrupt regimes in Europe. While her client´s democratic and human rights situation deteriorates even further, Zaha Hadid´s designs get even more monumental. That shiny, curvy StarTrek look is very expensive to build, but loved by oil-rich potentates and tyrants all over the world. Not all of them turn out well - the football stadium in Qatar is a case in point - but this one does.
For the autocrats, an original Zaha is a built monument to their grand oil power. For her, every rich authoritarian regime is a possibility to realize the next grand Zaha thing. It is all great and shiny here, she says, forget about these pesky political opponents brooding in (presumably not Zaha-designed) jail. Is it moral? Perhaps not. Is it good architecture? Opinions are divided. Is it spectacular? Certainly.
All image copyright Hufton&Crow.
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