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Lilium Tower

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

The flower of ambition: Lilium Tower in Warsaw by ZHA.

This video is part of a series by Zaha Hadid shown at Visions, the 2009 Beyond Media festival in Florence. "The View Master" series included videos from some of the most outstanding architectural studios that used film as part of their investigation. The MVRDV’s View Master is also available on The Architecture Player.

For the Lilium Tower, located in the center of Warsaw e close to the central station, Zaha Hadid Architects produced a two-minutes-long animation that unveils the project and displays the concept behind it. Like a flower, blooming from the ground - it's astonishing how many metaphors can be used to portray ZHA's style that still makes sense? Her style embodied by waves, aquatics mammals, geological stratification - Lilium Tower stands tall in the middle of the city, like a new landmark.

As we mentioned in other clips by ZHA, it is interesting how these videos often portray anonymous environments or settings for ZHA’s architectures - sometimes erasing completely the city, like we saw in the London Aquatics Center. In "Designing Disorder" by Pablo Sendra and Richard Sennett (Verso Books, 2020), Sendra points out that a crucial problem in contemporary urban planning is that "it's hard to find a city that’s built from scratch. Sometimes there are developers saying that there building something and in their view there's nothing there before" referring to the new redevelopment around King's Cross, to which Sennett responds "Same thing with the so-called Olympic Park, which was considered at the time 'nowhere'. Now we discover that there was lots of 'where' around it, a rich fabric of habitations." It is quite obvious that ZHA's approach is on the opposite side of Sendra and Sennett’s, but it is interesting to read how much their observation applies to these videos and makes us understand them more.

Lilium Tower's video resembles the one for the masterplan in Istanbul (Kartal Pendik Masterplan), the cityscape made of anonymous blocks - but if in the latter case the blocks where geological-like figures rising from the ground and designed by ZHA (so in a word, they were sprouting), here the cityscape is represented as a dull, too-predictable series of buildings, lacking of ambition. And it is "ambition" the right word to describe the Lilium Tower - also, "aspirational" for the city.

We can read it in ZHA's words: "Light and transparent, this 260 meters structure, containing luxury residential apartment and hotel, projects a clear sense of identity and character – offering a slender contrast to the nearby Palace of Culture, creating its own distinctive profile within an emerging cluster of tall buildings. […] In essence, Lilium Tower comprises a progressive and prestigious residential building at the heart of 21st century Warsaw- avoiding sterile repetition to achieve a dynamic, ever changing presence. The Tower program comprises apartment hotel, residential apartments, spa, underground retail area, restaurant and parking – with four separate lobbies at ground level."

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrick Schumacher
Mentioned project: Lilium Tower (2007-TBC)
Project location: Warsaw, Poland

United Kingdom 2007
Duration: 1'58"