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Peter Cook: 'Hadid had a tricky relationship with Schumacher'

Peter cook at waf crop
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The late Zaha Hadid had a ‘tricky relationship’ with her practice’s current director Patrik Schumacher, architect Peter Cook has told an audience at this week’s World Architecture Festival (WAF)

In a wide-ranging lunchtime talk, which he admitted was ‘gossipy’, the Archigram founder said Hadid ‘was never really [one] to criticise Patrik, but she knew some of the things he was doing were not to her taste. But she was sort of semi in love with him and allowed him to do it.’

Cook, who was a close friend of Hadid, added: ‘Something that is not generally known about Zaha is that she was very aware of other people’s work, she was quite well informed’.

The former Bartlett director and a co-founder of CRAB Studio also acknowledged that he gets called a national treasure, telling the audience: ‘We national treasures have to hang on in there because most of the world hates what we do.’

Cook discussed several ‘big personalities’ in the industry, as well as the ‘unspoken battle of [these] influences’. He praised the work of fellow architect and friend Will Alsop, who he described as ‘another national treasure’.

And he directly compared several pairs of renowned architects, including Norman Foster and Richard Rogers – describing an ‘incredible parallel’ between the two men – and Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas. 

Elsewhere in his speech, Cook discussed the work of Bjarke Ingels, describing him as the ‘fastest kid on the block’, as well as Herzog & de Meuron. 

He said that some people ‘hate the late Herzog & de Meuron because they stopped being boring and Swiss … whereas I love them now’.

WAF is running from 15-17 November in Arena Berlin. Other speakers include Alison Brooks, Francis Kéré, Will Alsop, Peter Cook and Terry Farrell.

Yesterday [15 November], keynote speaker Rafael Viñoly told the festival that architects need to ‘retool’ if the marginalisation of the profession is to be reversed. 

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