A little over an hour’s drive away from the 1,300-year old Franciscan monastery-turned-boutique hotel Il Cannito in Cilento, Italy, one can admire the Salerno Maritime Terminal, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
An architectural tour de force, this project was Zaha Hadid Architect's first completion since the late Iraqi-British architect’s passing in March 2016.
The curvaceous structure with its hard, asymmetric concrete shell was built with the Southern Italian Campania region’s hot sun in mind. Built to resemble – abstractly – an oyster, the terminal shelters its visitors as well as acting as a thoroughfare for ferry and cruise ships, a striking architectural resting place for those coming from, and destined for, far away.
Illuminated at night, the Salerno Maritime Terminal also acts as a beacon for the area. As a transition between land and the sea, the structure, which itself looks both solid and liquid, is the perfect metaphor for its functional and aesthetic purposes.
Offering views of the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Amalfi Coast, the Gulf of Salerna and the Cilento Coast, this is more than just a place to be in transit – it’s a piece of Zaha Hadid’s architectural legacy, with awe-inspiring vistas to boot.
But don’t forget to look behind you as well. The city of Salerno, just a stone’s throw away, has much to offer in the way of history and culture, such as Europe’s oldest botanical garden.
Perched high on a hillside, in the Upper Old Town, the garden was founded in the 12th century as a part of the medical university of Salerno. With its Arabic terraced design engineered for effective watering, the medicinal, aromatic and therapeutic plants that can be found here are in a favourable geographical position, protected from the wind and exposed to the sun.
Conceived in line with the Hippocrates doctrine by Matteo Silvatico – a famous doctor from that time – the garden was the source of the many medicines made of plant extracts. You can enjoy yet another magnificent view here on the terrace, over the bay of Salerno, while tucking into a lunch of local specialties or a herbal tea made from plants plucked from the medieval botanical garden itself.
Another Zaha Hadid architectural tour-de-force is definitely the striking Messner Mountain Museum in South Tyrol. Soaring out the top of the mountain as an ode to all things mountain climbing, head there from Brunico's 13th century farmhouse-cum-enigmatic design den Niedermairhof.
For you architecture fiends we also have a further array that will make you get your sketchbook and charcoal pencils out: from famed art-world gallerist (and friends to Andy Warhol & Roy Lichtenstein) Bruno Bischofberger's transformed hyrdaulics factory in Zurich, to a luxury bathhouse with a difference on the shores of Lake Lucerne, to New York's wabi-sabi style Greenwich Hotel penthouse to Lisbon's sweeping curvature of the MAAT museum, and Italy's square colosseum Fendi headquarters - not to mention much more in our bursting travel journal, it's safe to say architecture, style and design is kind of our thing.