Zaha Hadid Architects Wins Designs of the Year Prize
The Design Museum in London has defended its decision to give its Designs of the Year top prize to Zaha Hadid Architects building in Azerbaijan, following widespread criticisms of the award on human rights grounds.
“It’s a prize about architecture rather than politics and its architectural quality is outstanding,” Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic says. “The jury made a decision on what they thought was the best project. I support that decision but I played no part in making it.”
“If you look at the whole range of what’s in the [Designs of the Year exhibition] it’s a fascinating overview of international architecture and design,” said Sudjic. “[Designs of the Year] is a very international project. It’s the one place where you can see that range of projects.” But he added: “We listen and we want to improve.”
Bekiroglu said:”They wanted to have something unique, something which is looking at the future, somehow showing their soft, romantic side but at the same time their optimistic side,”
“When you look at Soviet era [architecture in Azerbaijan], it’s more like monumental internalised authoritarian buildings. So, this, we wanted to use this building as an opportunity to soften it up and totally depart from that.”
Previous winners in the competition’s seven-year history include the London 2012 Olympic Torch, the Plumen lightbulb, and the British government’s GOV.UK website.