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Astragal: 'People think I'm rude, but I'm too nice,' reveals Zaha

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Zaha Hadid’s appearances on BBC Radio 4 tend to be memorable, and her Desert Island Discs interview last Sunday was no exception.

The architect admitted people often thought of her as rude but said this was a misconception, and claimed she also has a ‘shy’ side.

‘Because I don’t overdo the flattery and complimenting, people think I am rude,’ she said. ‘They are so used to people arse-licking that they think it is rude not to do it. I don’t care what people say or think … If someone bothers me, I tell them to poo off. But I am not nasty to people – I am very nice. I am too nice – that’s the truth. I am taken advantage of all the time.’

Hadid also confessed to having ripped out the kitchen in her apartment ‘because it was ugly and it was in the middle of my living room’; and revealed a passion for the music of singer-songwriter Adele, picking her song Someone Like You as one of her choices.

‘I think she has a great voice and when I was listening to it four years ago, it was the summer of the Olympics … I sat down to listen to her music over and over again. That summer was Adele,’ she told presenter Kirsty Young.


Sneak peek at revised Pole stumps viewers

Not the new Pole

Not the new Pole

Renzo Piano’s Paddington Pole is going to be getting shorter. But by how much?  

According to one report last week, the scheme’s developer Sellar (of Shard fame) has chopped the 254m building in two, lopping more than 125m off its height. At the same time the design team had significantly fattened the proposal to allow for bigger, ‘financially’ viable floorplates.   

Just a few days later a mysterious image began doing the rounds on Twitter, purportedly the first sneaky peek at the revised designs. Piano’s Pole, it appeared, had become much squatter and Rubenesque – a strange, unresolved stump.

Sellar’s press team, however, insisted all was not as it seemed: the image was not a leaked preview of the latest revisions, but a snap of the original concept – a close-up of how the project would create new public realm and routes at ground level.

Renders of the reworked scheme are due out later this month, so readers will be able to judge what resemblance they bear to the Twitter ‘imposter’


Tower’s ex-residents fail to get misty eyed

Re home10

Re home10

Source: Mark Douet

Re home 10

Debates about knocking down homes are often noisy, boisterous affairs. Re:Home, a play on the aftermath of demolishing the unnotable and apparently notorious Beaumont Estate in east London, made a noise of its own last week.

Its brand of cacophony came in waves of testimony, taken from former tenants before and a decade after demolition, and relayed by the energetic cast of the Offstage Theatre company.

Most residents abandoned their neighbourhood after the tower blocks – which partly defined them – came down. ‘I’m Ryan, I’m 11, I’m on the 11th,’ was one memorable line.

Any broader message was difficult to catch amid the confusing chatter. Pre-demolition, it was mundane, boring even. Post-demolition, the focus was on people; speculating on the fate of former neighbours rather than reminiscences of the unloved ex-estate.

Clearly something got lost in the decade of silence between testimonies.


Tour guide calls last orders on Robin Hood Gardens

Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithsons

Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithsons

Source: Janet Hall / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithsons

An east London council estate whose demolition certainly will be much lamented is of course Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens.

Following the failure of last year’s Richard Rogers-led renewed attempt to save the estate, walking guide Andrew Parnell is now advertising his Poplar walk next month as a chance to see the 1972 estate ‘so long as it is still standing’.

The walk, called Stock Bricks to Brutalism: Housing Design History in Poplar,will take place on Sunday 6 March and Sunday 20 March, and also includes tours of the celebrated Lansbury Estate and Erno Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower.



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