Exhibition showcasing the innovation of vertical urbanism "Zaha Hadid Architects" architecture

Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), together with its affiliated HKDI Gallery, are honoured to present its flagship exhibition of the year “Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism”, as part of their “#EssenceofDesign” programme this year.  The exhibition will run until April 3, 2022, both gallery and virtual, with the aim of showcasing a wide range of innovations in architecture.

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HKDI Gallery’s exclusive online exhibition “Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism” aims to showcase Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) innovations in architecture through a display of projects.

 Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) innovations in architecture through a display of projects with a variety of project documentation tools – from technical drawings and diagrams, computer-generated visualisations, and architectural models, to video projections and virtual reality experiences. The immersive online exhibition of “Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism” builds on the Gallery’s popular digital offering of contemporary design exhibitions, allowing the wider global audience to journey through ZHA’s formative projects, zoom into visual details of architectural models, and experience multimedia elements at their leisure. The exhibition will present a range of approaches taken by ZHA in their development of vibrant and sustainable community-orientated spaces within dense urban conditions. It also explores ZHA’s ongoing research and development, detailing the investigative spirit and pioneering innovation inscribed within the studio’s architecture that are recognised around the world. The late architect Zaha Hadid (1950 - 2016) injected a new level of dynamism into architecture. Her vision has been explosive, fluid and boundless, forcefully questioning the need for urban fortifications in her drive to establish a continuous, active ground-plane. The investigative spirit on which Hadid based her career continues in ZHA’s ground-breaking work around the world. HKDI is committed to promoting design education and facilitating dialogue among industry experts, students and design enthusiasts through partnerships with international museums, design institutions and designers. This exhibition celebrates the ingenuity of ZHA, showcasing the depth of experience of one of the most renowned architecture firms in the world. Curated especially for the Institutes, the exhibition is thematically structured around three aspects of ZHA’s work: expounding on the research of ZHA’s Computation & Design research group (ZHA CODE); exploring the studio’s designs for towers in cities around the world; and showcasing ZHA’s seminal projects in the region.

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The exhibition will present a range of project documentation tools – from technical drawings and diagrams, computer-generated visualisations, and architectural models, to video projections and virtual reality experiences.


ZHA CODE collaborates with the world’s leading scientific institutions to develop innovations in robotics, artificial intelligence and digital fabrication which, in turn, inform ZHA’s design process. Building a comprehensive understanding of local supply chains, materials, craftsmanship and manufacturing, ZHA CODE develops design and logistical strategies with new construction technologies that ensure each project is fundamentally sustainable by using as little material and energy as possible in its assembly and operations. Highlighted exhibits include Thallus, a robotically printed experimental sculpture. ZHA is delivering vertical urban architecture with experiential and communicative value. Incorporating a selection of the studio’s renowned tower projects from around the world, this portion of the exhibition examines the studio’s innovations in moving beyond the existing paradigm of tower design and enhance urbanism in the 21st century.
In his formative essay for the exhibition, Patrik Schumacher outlines five critical components of 21st century tower design that are explored within the exhibition: Density; Atria + Bridges; Façade; Ground Interface; and Sustainability. “The skyscraper seems locked in the bygone Fordist paradigm of segregating segmentation and serial repetition. The tower typology is the last bastion of this bygone era. The time is ripe to challenge the standard tower typology and demand that it too participates in the general societal restructuring from Fordism to Post-Fordism.” Highlighted projects include One Thousand Museum tower in Miami, and the Leeza SOHO tower in Beijing.

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Thallus showcased at “Zaha Hadid Architects: Vertical Urbanism”

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Regional Highlights

The exhibition begins with a significant work of Zaha Hadid, on display near the entrance, The Peak project in Hong Kong. The Peak project won Hadid global attention and offered an early glimpse into the concepts and methodologies within ZHA’s work, as showcased in the exhibition – from the experimentation on structures that push the traditional boundaries, to floating fluid forms, as well as the integration of public spaces within dense urban environments. The exhibition also presents two award-winning projects closer to home that encapsulate ZHA’s vision: the Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams Macau, as well as the highly anticipated The Henderson tower to be completed in Central, Hong Kong. The world’s first free-form high-rise exo-skeleton, the Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams Macau opened in 2018 and was designed as a vertical extrusion of the site’s existing abandoned foundations. The 40-storey building of two internal vertical circulation cores connected at podium and roof levels to define its central atrium. The Henderson in Hong Kong creates an urban oasis. The 36-storey design reinterprets the structural forms and layering of a Bauhinia bud about to blossom.

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Concept model of The Peak project in Hong Kong

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Atrium study model for Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams Macau

About Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI)

Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), as one of the member institutions under the VTC Group, is one of the most influential design institutions in Hong Kong. It provides high-quality education to cultivate knowledge and professionalism, nurturing design talents to support Hong Kong’s creative industry development. With years of experience in design education, HKDI brings together the strengths of its design departments – Architecture, Interior and Product Design, Communication Design, Digital Media and Fashion and Image Design – to provide over 20 full-time design programmes, preparing students for work-readiness with socially conscious solutions to meet the demand of the 21st century workplace.