Zaha Hadid Architects has released an open letter distancing the practice from controversial comments made by its head Patrik Schumacher, saying his views do not reflect the studio’s future direction
Schumacher, who became the head of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) following Hadid’s death in March, recently told the World Architecture Festival in Berlin that social housing should be scrapped, Hyde Park built on and all public space privatised.
During the same speech he called social housing tenants ‘freeriders’ and ‘privileged’, and said it was unfair that they were keeping more productive workers, including those at ZHA, from living in the centre of London.
The practice has now issued a candid letter (below) explaining why Schumacher’s ‘brainstorming’ manifesto does not echo the firm’s own ethos.
Asked whether Schumacher had signed the letter, a spokesman for ZHA said: ’[The letter] is from everyone at ZHA - ie the staff - to underline the core values and principles we all stand for.
’And I am very glad to confirm that there is not any internal fracture; Patrik remains our principal.’
Letter in full
Patrik Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past - and will not be our future.
Zaha Hadid did not write manifestos. She built them.
Zaha Hadid Architects has delivered 56 projects for all members of the community in 45 cities around the world.
Refusing to be confined by limitations or boundaries, Zaha did not reserve her ideology for the lecture hall. She lived it.
She deeply believed in the strongest international collaboration and we are very proud to have a hugely talented team of 50 different nationalities in our London office, including those from almost every EU country. Forty-three per cent of architects at ZHA are of an ethnic minority and 40 per cent of our architects are women.
Zaha Hadid didn’t just break glass ceilings and pull down barriers; she shattered them — inviting everyone of any race, gender, creed or orientation to join her on the journey.
Embedding a collective research culture into every aspect of our work, Zaha has built a team of many diverse talents and disciplines — and we will continue to innovate towards an architecture of inclusivity.
Architects around the world are calling for the profession to become more inclusive. The national and international press have also done a very good job highlighting the critical issues of housing and the threats to vital public spaces.
Through determination and sheer hard work, Zaha showed us all that architecture can be diverse and democratic. She inspired a whole new generation around the world to engage with their environment, to never stop questioning and never — ever — stop imagining.
Collaborating with clients, communities and specialists around the world who share this vision, everyone at Zaha Hadid Architects is dedicated to honouring Zaha’s legacy, working with passion and commitment to design and deliver the most transformational projects for all.