Laura Nica profile

Laura Nica

Laura Nica

University of Westminster (2023)


Dr Constance Lau


An Archaeological Exploration of Zaha Hadid’s Fonds through Reverse Digital Fragmentation


This PhD aims to identify, develop new frameworks for archiving and disseminating digital and design material. The proposed archival research is intended to generate new insights into the working methodologies employed by Zaha Hadid during the development of complex architectural concepts, drawings, and buildings.

The investigation focuses on Hadid’s transition from drawings to early computational work, developed during the 1980s-90s, analysing emerging design concepts, how these informed digital processes and the ensuing works of architecture. The notions of fragmentation and layering will be dually applied both broadly as data-driven computational archival and analytical methodologies and in more detail, as drawing procedures. This addresses both Hadid's working processes and the proposed systems. The iterative development of these archival methods will form part of the first systematic documentation of Hadid’s creative processes, compositional procedures and digital apparatuses. The archival methods also allow for new readings to be considered against the context of a male dominated and ethnically limited practice environment, and how these additional and ever-present challenges further shaped her work.

The contribution to knowledge from this research will provide new archival structures and systems to engage with material, unearth new information on Hadid’s work, and additionally facilitate new dialogues between analogue and digital material to inform design and architectural practices. The multi-media archive rethinks issues of chronology, hierarchy and linearity to enable the metaverse qualities befitting of Hadid’s legacy. This is evident in how her advanced thinking and work during her time continues to inform architecture today.