Connecting the dots through photos… Authored by Michael Surtees

My First Zaha Hadid Building

Looking up to my first Zaha Hadid building from street level (520 West 28th Street), the first thing that struck me about its presence was how balanced everything was. As my eyes followed all the shapes whether it was glass or any of the other materials, everything fit together perfectly. Nothing seemed out of place nor was superfluous. Having only seen images previously of the full structure it was a bit surprising for me. While the images I looked at didn’t make the building seem ornamental by any means, seeing it in person really emphasized the shapes in a compelling manner. 

My eye would follow one sharp line that fit with the next element and so on. Whether I was focused on one window or a lager block element that curved, they all seemed perfectly in scale. For a building of this magnitude where the lines are suggesting a lot of movement, how everything fit together was a calming presence.

Walking around the building, it was hard not to notice how different it was to every other box building surrounding it. Comparing the curved glass to the square windows of every other building was telling. The lack of interest from the other buildings suggested a lack of creativity outside of a spacing exercise between one window to the next. Don’t get me wrong, I really like when grids fit together in a sophisticated manner but when compared to this curved and stretched structure it seems to question why nothing has changed for so long.

I really liked this building from the outside. That’s the thing though, I really have no idea how things fit from the inside. Should it matter that I’m only seeing it from the street for the first time as opposed to considering what its like for every day use? Will this building date gracefully or look obnoxious a couple years from now? I’m sure its just as compelling on the inside as it is on the outside. The building will continue to inspire people to push ideas further than just a well proportioned box. While these answers are only guesses at this point, it was a worthy experience of strolling through Chelsea to experience.