For the first time in its seven-year history, the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award has gone to a woman, and also for the first time, to a work of architecture.
Zaha Hadid has taken home the award for her Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, a gallery hall and a museum designed to play an integral role in the intellectual life of the city.
“The surface of the Heydar Aliyev Center’s external plaza rises and folds to define a sequence of public event spaces within; welcoming, embracing and directing visitors throughout the building,” said Hadid. “It’s an architectural landscape where concepts of seamless spatial flow are made real—creating a whole new kind of civic space for the city.”
The annual Designs of the Year competition recognizes innovation and original talent around the world in architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphic, product and transport design. The seven winning designs competed for the overall Design of the Year 2014 award.
Heydar Aliyev Center
“A great architect needs a great client, technology, the public, the landscape and the right time,” said jury member Kim Colin of Industrial Facility. “The jury felt that for Zaha's office, this is a pinnacle moment in their portfolio, a sign of international maturity. The jury argued heatedly for and against, and then we finally agreed unanimously that the project deserves our utmost respect. This architecture should make us talk for years to come.”
Heydar Aliyev Center
“It's a stunning, iconic building,” added jury member Ben Terrett of Government Digitial Service. “One thing that struck me was how it really feels like the swooping curves are the structure. Too often with this type of design it's a facade of something interesting put on top of the usual box. This is different.”
Previous Design of the Year winners include the London 2012 Olympic Torch, the Plumen lightbulb, and the British government’s GOV.UK website.
Along with Hadid’s entry, the six other category winners, as well as the other 69 nominated designs for 2014, are on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum until August 25.