When a residential project in collaboration with Zaha Hadid did not receive approval by the local Moscow legislature, Vladislav Doronin was determined to work with Dame Hadid and subsequently commissioned her to design a residence for him. Over a lunch meeting they discussed the brief, ‘floating above the treetops, overlooking the forest’ and Zaha Hadid sketched her ideas onto a napkin. The result was the Capital Hill Residence, a fluid monument emerging from its surrounding landscape.
The two met a dozen years ago when Doronin hired her to plan a condo building in Moscow that ultimately failed to win government approval. By then, he says, they had become friends.
“I still wanted to do something with her,” Doronin says. The two met in London’s tony Mayfair neighborhood. He explained what he was seeking. “I want to see blue sky above the trees. You have to go above the forest. She basically designed it at the table.‘Do you like it?’ she asked me. I fell in love with it.”
“We had lunch together. I explained the kind of land I’d bought. It’s one of the best locations in the Russian countryside. I told her, ‘When I wake up, I don’t want to see any neighbors. I want to see blue sky and the trees. I want to feel free.’ She asked, ‘How high are the trees?’ I told her around 30 meters. So she took a napkin and drew. I told her I liked it, and we started to develop my house from there.”
“I always wanted to build something with Zaha. For me Zaha is a great architect, not just of this century but of the next century, too. She has vision. And like me, she loves Malevich.”