Man has desired to build grand, elaborate structures for centuries. Even in the Bible, in the book of Genesis Chapter 11 it says, “a tower was erected so high it reached the heavens”. Sophisticated technology software such as AutoCAD wasn’t around, but through meticulous design and they were able to construct what we would call today, a skyscraper. The Egyptians were the first civilization to successfully build and maintain enormous structures for the dead. They also started the enthusiasm for building massive and astonishing buildings. Buildings like the World Trade Center or Burj Khalifa are modern marvels and both have something in common. The relationship between these two buildings are not simply their size, but that they were both designed by architects. Fumihiko Maki and Zaha Hadid are two architects that stand out among the rest. Both have achieved tremendous success in their art but have differing styles. This essay will explain the similarities and differences between these two iconic architectural giants.
Zaha and Fumihiko would start out their education very differently. Fumihiko graduated from the University of Tokyo with his Bachelor’s in Architecture, 2 years after Zaha’s birth, in 1952. Immediately after graduation Maki traveled to the United States to further his education. After arriving to America, Maki then entered the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills in Michigan. He also graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1954. Once he accomplished his education goals he stayed in the United States for a little over a decade working in New York as an architect. Fumihiko Maki felt he had gained enough experience working in New York, he decided to return to Japan and start his own architectural firm in 1965. He named his company Maki & Associates. Being born in Iraq is not easy specially if you are a woman. Zaha Hadid left the country where she was born to pursue bigger and better things. The path in which Zaha started was different from Fumihiko in 2 different ways. The first way was she started going to school in the United Stated first and the second way is the degree she was pursuing was in mathematics not in architecture. After she graduated, with her bachelor’s in mathematics, she went to attend the Architectural Association in 1972. The Architectural Association was one of the best centers of progressive architecture during that era and Zaha was part of it. Having a mathematical way of thinking, Hadid’s designs were so abstract, her buildings were said to be impossible to make. Hadid liked to push the boundaries of what was possible. Most of her designs where, “fragmentation, flotation, and liberation from gravity” (Hadid). The opposite was said of Fumihiko, his method of design was more of a simplistic one. He used modernism and Japanese tradition to influence his designs, he wanted, “transparency, translucency and opacity to exist in total harmony” (Maki). These two quotes clearly show the differences between these two individuals. Hadid wants broken and floating, but Fumihiko wants harmony from modernistic materials.
Zaha Hadid and Fumihiko Maki architectural designs are similar because they both used modernism architecture. Their buildings are very spacious on the inside and they both use organic shapes. There since of style is both unique and similar when looking at their work. They both have opacity in their buildings such as New Dance and Music Center by Zaha Hadid and the MIT Media Lab Complex by Fumihiko Maki. These two buildings show how these two architects have their own takes on modernism and yet use similar ideas in their designs. In Zaha Hadid’s building Contemporary Art Center and Fumihiko Maki’s 1985 Spiral Building, it is seen in both of these buildings that they both went for a cubism look. The two buildings are very different in their aesthetic look, but both architects were going for more a simply complex look.
Fumihiko Maki and Zaha Hadid were both amazing architects in their own style. Zaha’s work was more theoretical and Fumihiko was more practical, but both outstanding and beautiful. In 2004 Zaha made history in the architecture world when she was the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Fumihiko also get the highest architectural honor in 1993 by being the second Japanese to win the Pritzker Architectural Prize. In March 2016 tragedy struck when Zaha died. These two titans will always be remembered and immortalize by their elaborate buildings.