Book Review: Zaha Hadid: BMW Central Building

Zaha Hadid: BMW Central Building edited by Todd Gannon, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. (Amazon)

The seventh book in Knowlton School of Architecture's Source Books in Architecture series focuses on the Central Building at BMW's Leipzig Plant by Zaha Hadid. The already immensely popular building can be seen as part of a series of works by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect that also includes the completed Phaeno Science Center and the Contemporary Arts Center now under construction in Rome. Each project continues her exploration of long, linear spaces, though in these we see an overlapping and integration of spaces that's much more fluid and complex than her earlier designs, perhaps owing to the larger scale of these recent buildings.

This book presents the BMW Plant Leipzig from the competition's first stage in 2001 to the building's 2005 completion. Sketches, models, renderings, architectural drawings, construction photos and photos of the finished building give a thorough visual record of the process. Along with these images are interviews with Hadid, designer Patrik Schumacher, and project architect Lars Teichmann. These interviews give a candid insight into the various parts of the process, explaining, for example, how the studio translated Hadid's sketches into a functional and buildable design. While the books layout and graphic design lacks a certain elegance or punch to make the book a beautiful artifact, its content makes up for this fact, helping the book become a thorough case study on an exceptional building.