Zaha Hadid, founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects build on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies.
The concept for Roca London Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid Architects is inspired by the various phases and states of water. Water acts as the transformational element moving across the façade, carving out the interior and moving through the main gallery as individual drops.
The complex free-form architectural language reflecting fluidity and nature is driven by the new digital design tools and the constant evolution of digitally controlled manufacturing, fabrication and contemporary construction mechanisms, processes and methods.
In order to achieve the complexity of the design and do justice to the original concept, it was essential for the project to start the conversation with the engineers, consultants and fabricators at an early design stage. GRC (glass reinforced concrete) and GRG (glass reinforced gypsum) were approved as the materials to respond and meet best the challenge of translating the fluid forms into built environment.
The GRC and GRG fabricator input specified the constraints and rules of manufacturing and installation which in turn informed and developed the architectural concept. Rationalisation techniques were naturally applied and embedded as logical part of the design language.
Straight vertical joints and a horizontal joint at 2.20m were adequately implemented to answer the challenge. The maximum size of the interior GRC panels is 3x5m and the full height facade panels are 2x4m. The two materials were applied with respect to their natural qualities as continuous white surface of the GRG curved gallery walls and exposed natural concrete GRC panels within the product display environments and the facade.
PODS & BESPOKE FURNITURE
GRP (glass reinforced plastics/ fibre glass) is the material used for the fabrication of the main gallery ‘pods’ serving as lighting elements, shelves and tables and all of the bespoke furniture that includes reception desk, bar, conference table and product display shelves. Subdivision Surface modelling in Maya is the used digital design tool.
Composed exclusively of Roca ceramics, the floor tiles of the product display environments are unique, individually designed and manufactured pieces, laid one by one. Each tile was designed by ZHA team and water jet cut from the standard 60x120cm Roca tile.