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office space. At the points of intersection between the skewed slabs, Hadid places big spaces for meetings, the ordinary functions of the programme. The walls are as if cracked and 'articulated in relief. Floors vary in depth and are also skewed. This spatial system of disengaged planes and detached volumes consistently implemented throughout the composition serves practical requirements such as providing the individual conditions for each activity, varying light, ventilation and contact with the outside.

The dynamic, askance, fragmented forms are determined by a robust, internal formal rule-system. Hadid has remarked that two visionaries of a new way of living - the Suprematist Malevich and the later Russian Constructivist Leonidov - have inspired and informed her work. And indeed this project is characterized by the anti-classicism of these two precursors in its systematic and radical infractions of the rules of orthogonality, hierarchy, symmetry - all those rules that Vitruvius and the entire classical tradition after him equated with the classical poetics of order. The Media Centre is a prodigiously rich, formal exploitation of Suprematist and Constructivist poetics; there is nevertheless a feeling of tension between the formal avant-gardism of the project and its programmatic ordinariness - an example, perhaps, of 'recuperated' adversarial critical culture, where the language of invention has been transformed into one of accommodation. For some, there is also in this work an underlying irony, a sense of Utopia shattered, a sense of the impatience which Hadid expressed when she said (on a different occasion), 'Nobody has made a statement... about a new way of living.'

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