Zaha Hadid Architects has not worked on a shopping centre before, but Galaxy Soho represents a welcome democratisation of her work. Situated on the second of ten ring-roads that girdle and define the sprawling capital city and with an in-built link to the Metro system, this development is distinctly urban rather suburban, civic as much as it is commercial. Its creation of public space at lower ground level with well-detailed seating and fountains demonstrates a rare generosity in a country determined to out-do the west in terms of commercialisation.
By breaking the building’s mass into four flowing asymmetric domes of varying height the design gets light into the deep-plan floor-plates. Each structure encloses a glazed atrium around which the internal circulation is arranged. Flowing bands of white aluminium and glass give the development an almost geological solidity and presence.