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Zaha Hadid Successor's Speech Makes Waves

Thursday, December 1, 2016

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A controversial speech made by the architect who took over Zaha Hadid’s firm after her unexpected death in March has prompted response from the internationally recognized firm, Hadid family members, London’s mayor and others.

Patrik Schumacher, the director of Zaha Hadid Architects, delivered the keynote address to hundreds of architects at the World Architecture Festival, held Nov. 16-18 in Berlin.

Housing Crisis Plan

In his remarks, Schumacher commented that London’s housing crisis could be eased by getting rid of regulations, privatizing all public space and abolishing social, or affordable, housing, according to DeZeen, which first reported and live-streamed the speech.

Hyde Park
© / lemhartley

Hyde Park could be replaced with a new city to help relieve London's housing crisis, according to Patrik Schumacher.

"We do not have a real market in real-estate provision, that's why we have a housing crisis," he said. "Housing for everyone can only be provided by freely self-regulating and self-motivating market process."

He said foreign investors should be welcomed and suggested the city’s beloved Hyde Park could be replaced with a new city.

"How much are you actually using it?" he asked. "We need to know what it costs us!"

Schumacher presented an eight-point plan for what he would if he were ever elected mayor.

Firm, Trustees Respond

The speech prompted Zaha Hadid Architects to issue a statement distancing it from Schumacher.

“Patrik Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past—and will not be our future,” it read.

“Zaha Hadid did not write manifestos. She built them.”

Further, trustees of the Zaha Hadid Foundation and her estate executors have also expressed disagreement with Schumacher’s views, noting that Hadid herself would have been opposed to the remarks.

"The views recently expressed by Patrik Schumacher regarding the closure of art schools, the abandonment of social housing and the building over of Hyde Park are his personal views and are not, in any way, shared by us," Rana Hadid, Peter Palumbo and Brian Clarke told DeZeen.

The Mayor’s Thoughts

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, told the London Evening Standard that Schumacher’s ideas were “out of touch” and “just plain wrong.”

“So whether these out of touch comments were designed to shock or not, anyone who thinks abolishing affordable housing altogether, supporting ‘buy-to-leave’ empty properties, and building on Hyde Park is the answer to London’s housing crisis doesn’t understand the first thing about our great city,” he said.

Schumacher later posted on Facebook that the views were his own and didn’t represent the policies of the practice he leads.

Reactions Mixed

Many online commenters have voiced their opinions regarding the speech. Some have compared the architect’s views to that of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

"This is Trumpism essentially–for architecture. Veering into social engineering, weeding out the poor and a blueprint to make London playground for the rich," wrote Steve R. on DeZeen.

Some have applauded his alternative vision and bravery.

"In today's political climate of the UK it's pretty brave to overtly support the idea of free-market capitalism or anything related to it," wrote a user called Blobface.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Color + Design; Design; Housing; Zaha Hadid

Comment from Brian Hierlihy, (12/1/2016, 10:35 AM)

Schumacher is a very thin piece of work. If you think these remarks are out of character, I suggest to borrow his book and read it. I say borrow because it is not worth buying.

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