Zaha Hadid (Associate Architect: KZF Incorporated. Donald L. Cornett, Mark Stedtefeld) 2001-2003
Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center is the first built project in the United States by celebrated London-based architect Zaha Hadid. More than another example of the "Bilbao Effect" - the "build it and they will come" attitude that so many cities have taken on after the success of Gehry's building in Bilbao - the CAC is simply the latest building in a long line of projects that the city of Cincinnati has taken on over the last ten years, including works by Peter Eisenman
, Frank Gehry
and Michael Graves
. Unlike other recent works to receive such press in Cincinnati, the CAC is the first major project to go up in the city's somewhat declining downtown. In response to the metropolitan setting of the building, Hadid developed the concept of the "urban carpet", to draw in pedestrian traffic inherent to a downtown area. The "urban carpet" is articulated by a seamless run of concrete that begins outside the building, continues into the mezzanine level and eventually curves upward at the far end of the building behind the stairs.