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Militant activists target Zaha Hadid Architects' office over Schumacher speech


Protesters angered by Patrik Schumacher’s controversial views on social housing picketed Zaha Hadid Architects’ office today (30 November) 

About 20 protesters from Class War and the London Anarchist Federation demonstrated outside the company’s Clerkenwell studio this lunchtime, angered by Schumacher’s provocative stance on social housing, which he aired at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin earlier this month.

Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ called for all social housing to be scrapped, Hyde Park to be 80 per cent built on and all public space privatised. During the same speech he called social housing tenants ‘free-riders’ and ‘privileged’, and said it was unfair that they kept more productive workers, including those at ZHA, from living in the centre of London.

Organised by Class War, which also targeted the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony in October, the protesters accused Schumacher of ’driving the working class out of London’. Standing outside the practice’s office, they shouted: ’Come out Patrik, come out from under that table.’ It is understood that Schumacher is currently overseas.

Ian Bone, 69, a founder of Class War, said: ‘What Patrik Schumacher has said is social fascism. If it’s not opposed early on, it will grow and grow […] we as working class people want to stop it right at the beginning.’

He added: ’We hope Schumacher will retract his vile views, apologise and get out of the country.’

Yesterday Zaha Hadid Architects sought to distance itself from Schumacher’s ‘brainstorming’ manifesto, saying it did not echo the firm’s ethos.

In a remarkable open letter, the practice said: ‘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. Refusing to be confined by limitations or boundaries, Zaha did not reserve her ideology for the lecture hall. She lived it.’


Readers' comments (7)

  • Ian Bone & friends should reserve their ire for Schumacher alone, given the Zaha Hadid office's clear statement that they have no truck with his notions.

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  • Can you please justify the use of the word 'Militant' in the title of your article? Does aggressive use of a megaphone count?! Wait, maybe it's the hat..

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  • The open letter from ZH staff is a good response though their statement does not cover working class contributors to their office.

    "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."

    Its likely there are a few, though with tuition fees now at record levels, it would be surprising if there are many from the UK. Architecture is seen as an elitist profession and access for people from working class backgrounds is now harder than ever before.

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  • Needless to say, neither Ian Bone or Patrick Schumacher are doing much to help solve the Housing Problem in London, the U.K., or anywhere on the planet. Let's hope his misquoted words don't compromise the future of Zaha Hadid Architects.

    The real problem here is numbers. Too many dwellings, too much food needed, too many habitats compromised, too many fossil fuels burnt. You guess the rest. Some very hard decisions will have to be made in the coming decades.

    It's obvious we need some wise ones, and more equality, and we might just get through in one piece.

    See you there?

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  • let's be clear - there is a housing supply [roblem, but more importantly a demand problem. The second is the problem. But the first was caused by the working class who voted for thatcher and porter, sucked up the promises of home ownership and cashed in on the catastrophic so called right-to-buy designed primarlity for gerry mandering. Thatcher's abolition of of sitting tenants rights and the criminalisation of squatting ensured that 'property' was handed over unfettered to the likes of her greed fuelled husband, and other sharks. No where in the world was the rented sector so systematically dismantled. Now everyone renting is on the draconian 28 notice to quit which means, if you an architect just made redundant as I have been numerous times, you are out on the street very quickly unless you get a new job.

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  • Some properly racist posters in there.

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  • I'm sorry F C and D, but the rented sector and economy wasn't working for anyone as created by the Atlee/Wilson/Callaghan governments. Properties weren't being maintained by private landlords, due to lack of incentive, and tenants were stuck in run down accommodation. And council flats/houses were almost as bad.

    Porter did use property to distort the franchise in Westminster, but it was an isolated case? Thatcher changed things, but it needed doing, or we'd still be living in the 19th century. Can we now rise to the 21st? And we need to move on again. The NIMBYs of all parties are still going strong. We have to solve the housing problem in a civilised way. There are few things in this world more satisfying than a good and sustainable place to live?! And then we can solve some of the other problems. Enough said. Get on with it, and out of the way if you can't lend a hand?

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