Earlier this year, residents began moving into Brooklyn’s newest and most expensive condo building: Olympia Brooklyn. Located in DUMBO, the 33-story structure, designed by Hill West Architects, is just the latest in the borough’s ever-evolving skyline. However, unlike other neighboring high rises that reach into the sky, Olympia is shaped like an unfurled sail, appearing ready to cut through the nearby East River any second.
The building is yet another example that architects, particularly modern ones, love nautical themes. Le Corbusier was deeply inspired by ocean liners and wrote about them in his 1923 book, Towards a New Architecture;Frank Gehry cited sails as a reference point when designing the Guggenheim Bilbao; Santiago Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum is shaped like a boat ready to coast into Lake Michigan; and even Frank Lloyd Wright—who only designed one coastal home—used the opportunity to create a house shaped like a ship’s bow.
It’s no surprise, then, that many architects have also turned their attention to yacht and ship design in recent years. But just how do their creative tendencies transfer from skyscrapers and cities to the nautical and maritime? Below AD looks at seven superyachts designed by architects to help answer that question.
Unique Circle Yachts, Zaha Hadid
Perhaps one of Zaha Hadid’s greatest strengths was her ability to make nearly anything she touched instantly recognizable as her own. And nothing proves this more than the group of five superyachts the architect designed in 2013. Featuring bold, white curves and organic lines, the design is classic Hadid—only in nautical form. “Each yacht is an engineered platform that integrates specific hydrodynamic and structural demands together with the highest levels of comfort, spatial quality, and safety,” Hadid said in a press release at the time of the boats’ debuts. The architect worked with German shipbuilding and engineering firm Blohm+Voss, which brought boating-specific technical expertise to the project.