Zaha Hadid Heydar Aliyev Centre Baku ©Hufton Crow

Heydar Aliyev Centre Baku / © Hufton Crow

With a retrospective display of projects dating from 1982 to today, including projects such as the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010) or the Leeza SOHO in Beijing (2019), the Modern Art Museum (MAM) in Shanghai will run the Zaha Hadid Exhibition from 26 June to 15 September 2021.

ZHA Close Up at MAM Shanghai explores the pioneering research and interconnecting relationships that unite their projects around the globe, detailing the technological innovations that are transforming how the studio imagines, designs, and constructs built environments.

ZHA Close Up – Work & Research Exhibition

  • Architects: Zaha Hadid
  • Location: MAM Shanghai, 4777 Binjiang Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China
  • Exhibition dates: 26  June – 15 September 2021
  • Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00, Last admission 17:30
  • Info:

There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?

– Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid Exhibition Photographs

Zaha Hadid Leeza SOHO Beijing ©HuftonCrow

Leeza SOHO / © Hufton Crow

Zaha Hadid London Aquatics Centre ©HuftonCrow

London Aquatics Centre / © Hufton Crow

Zaha Hadid Galaxy SOHO Beijing ©HuftonCrow

Galaxy SOHO / © Hufton Crow

Zaha Hadid MAXXI Museum Rome ©HuftonCrow

MAXXI Museum / © Hufton Crow

Zaha Hadid Exhibition – Work & Research

Defined by a timeline of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) formative works in China, ZHA Close Up at MAM Shanghai explores the pioneering research and interconnecting relationships that unite their projects around the globe, detailing the technological innovations that are transforming how the studio imagines, designs and constructs built environments.

Running from 26 June – 15 September 2021, the exhibition examines the evolution of Zaha Hadid Architects’ buildings over the last 40 years—from the flowing, urban spaces of the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010) and Leeza SOHO in Beijing (2019) to the studio’s ground-breaking projects currently in development across six continents—demonstrating a consistent desire to innovate and inspire.

Founded by the late Zaha Hadid in 1979, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) redefined architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations across the globe. Hadid was a major figure in the world of architecture and the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She first traveled to China in 1981 at the very beginning of her career. Like her birthplace, Iraq, carved by the Euphrates and the Tigris, China’s natural landscapes and urban settlements have been shaped through history by its great rivers and waterways. Traveling from north to south, visiting many Chinese cities to experience its art and architecture, Hadid studied the methods that embed its historic architecture within the great theatre of natural landscapes.

ZHA’s competition-winning design for the Peak Club in Hong Kong (1982-1983) manifests Hadid’s investigations into the fluid relationships between building and site, interior and exterior, architecture and engineering. Defined by the topography of the surrounding mountainside, in this and later seminal projects such as the Guangzhou Opera House (2010) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (2019), ZHA’s work echoes the coherence of nature in an organic architectural language generating unrivaled spatial experiences that are intuitive to navigate and recognized around the world.

ZHA Close Up explores the journey of four decades of experimentation that are inscribed within ZHA’s architecture and has seen their designs become more spatially inventive, more structurally efficient, more technologically advanced, and more environmentally sensitive with each new design and positions their work at the forefront of architectural practice.

Showcasing projects that have received the highest honors from civic, professional, and academic institutions worldwide, ZHA Close Up will present the studio’s pioneering research to improve how the industry designs and constructs: 


The application of detailed environmental analysis and geometry optimization techniques to maximize efficient design with less waste and resource consumption.

Computation & Design

A collaboration with the world’s most respected scientific institutions to develop robotics, artificial intelligence, and digital fabrication.

ZH Social

Investigation of the social interaction processes to be expected in the designed environments via agent-based simulations with differentiated agent populations and decision processes.

Analytics & Insights

Data analytics and human behavior modeling to design healthy and productive working environments tailor-made to overall and individual wellness.

Virtual Reality

Demonstrating the remarkable possibilities immersive technologies will offer architects to collaborate and design in augmented reality.

The exhibition will also present Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD), formed in 2006 out of a need to create a separate platform to share Hadid’s distinct dialogue of contemporary design. However, the ZHD portfolio encompasses 40 years of research. Today it is defined by Hadid’s inventive methodology and signature design in furniture, lighting, and fashion which transcends boundaries and has a global following. In addition, ZHD has partnered with iconic brands to create exceptional one-off and limited edition pieces that form part of some of the world’s most esteemed museum collections. Each piece effortlessly conveys immaculate craftsmanship and Hadid’s virtuosity with fluid geometry. Launched in 2014 under its own label, the ‘ZHD Collection’ further expresses Hadid’s vision in an uncompromising pursuit of excellence and non-conformity to define the acclaimed brand and ensure its timeless and revered presence within the design world.

Shai Baitel, Artistic Director of MAM Shanghai, said: “I am excited to include, as part of our interdisciplinary and immersive approach at MAM, this important exhibition, celebrating Zaha Hadid’s ingenuity. Hadid was an exceptional woman, and we are delighted to show our audience the development of her movement as a researcher, designer, and architect through various geographies and histories—and how this movement impacts the current innovative vision and work of Zaha Hadid Architects, following her untimely passing. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) continues and expands on her legacy. MAM is proud to present this show, granting unprecedented insights into the vision of one of the most important architects of our time.”

Patrik Schumacher, Principal, Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “With this show, we aim to present who we are close up, our depth of experience, our current preoccupations, and our aspirations for the future.”

MAM Shanghai is the largest contemporary art museum in Shanghai, measuring over 7,000 square meters. The state of the art museum located at the heart of Shanghai’s cultural mile along the Huangpu River is a premier institution for contemporary art with a global and multidisciplinary approach.

Zaha Hadid Exhibition Image Gallery

About MAM Shanghai

In Shanghai, China, the Modern Art Museum (MAM) is an institution with a global and multidisciplinary approach, contributing to the education, knowledge, and enjoyment of art through an immersive and engaging experience.

Its vast industrial architecture offers a versatile and dynamic space to connect shared cultures of the East and West. Located on the ‘cultural corridor’ of museums and galleries that runs along the riverside in the Pudong New Area, MAM utilizes innovative methods to facilitate public participation and engagement with art.

About Zaha Hadid

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA (1950 – 2016) was a British Iraqi architect, artist, and designer, recognized as a major figure in architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Hadid studied mathematics as an undergraduate and then enrolled at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1972. In search of an alternative system to traditional architectural drawing, influenced by Suprematism and the Russian avant-garde, Hadid adopted painting as a design tool and abstraction as an investigative principle to “reinvestigate the aborted and untested experiments of Modernism […] to unveil new fields of building.”

Works from Zaha Hadid