Zaha Hadid, one of the most promising and most celebrated architects of the last few years has a well filled book of architecture challenges won. Anyway, besides the impressive number of awards and prizes the grand dame of deconstructivist architecture is not so strong on the side of works actually built.
Only in recent years, some high-profile clients decided to realize her visions, fighting the obstacles her bold designs imposed. One of early believers was Volkswagen. The company decided to furnish the theme-park/showroom remix Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany, with a building by Hadid, finished in 2005. The Phaeno Science Center (official homepage) is the car manufacturer's image statement, a statement of modernity, innovation and expression of the current fractal post-modern feel of what a near future will be like, will look like. Hadid's concept, which won the design competition for the building in 2000, came out as the perfectly fitting skin for this idea.
As it turned out, when Tom Tykwer was scouting locations for his just released film The International (imdb, trailers on Clipland), looking for contemporary cold, edgy, "transparent but hiding" types of buildings, to illustrate his plot about an international conspiracy of multi-national banking and finance, among others, the Phaeno Center was perfect.
Interesting: although Hadid's building itself seems exceptional enough to be included in the film, the location/surroundings aren't. When the building appears on screen, it is introduced as being in Italy, located in front of a steep cliff on Lake D'Iseo, doubling as corporate headquarters/hideout of an influential gentleman gangsters family.