Zaha Hadid’s Building

August the 30th 2005, Ordrupgaard reopened with a significant addition, an extension designed by the prize-winning and internationally acclaimed Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, and with its special architectural style it adds an extra dimension to Ordrupgaard.

Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad in Iraq in 1950, but she trained in London and graduated from the Architectural Association School in 1977. She had her own architect firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London. Zaha Hadid died 31 March 2016 of a heart attack.

In 2001 Zaha Hadid’s proposal won a competition organised by the Danish Ministry of Culture for the new extension of Ordrupgaard. The judging committee commented that the winning proposal was in architectural opposite to the existing building – the classical three-winged house from 1917 designed by the architect Gotfred Tvede – with a balancing, but contrasting clarity.

Zaha Hadid’s building demonstrates a perception of space and shape as borderless movement and progression. At Ordrupgaard, as in many other projects, Hadid has worked to decode and interpret the surroundings. Before she started, Hadid made studies of the terrain in the park at Ordrupgaard and the building has been designed as a sort of continuation of the landscape.

The Building

It has been cast in black lava concrete which renders the surface open to changes in colour and textural effects according to the weather and wind. Subsequently, the building may appear both grey and matt and shiny black.

Inside, the building opens itself up as a ‘fluid space’ where it is hard to detect the transition between galleries and corridors, not to mention floors and ceilings. The rooms constantly relate to the curves of the terrain, with the ceiling rising and falling as you progress through them.

Finally, the building is characterised by large areas of glass which invite in the daylight and surrounding nature and which reinforce the experience of the building’s integration with the landscape.

See Zaha Hadid’s later projects on her website:

Thanks to the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Foundations Realdania and Augustinus Fonden for funding the building.

 Click on the images to see them full size.