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Zaha Hadid questions lack of UK work

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World famous architect tells AJ of her struggle to win commercial and residential projects after keynote speech at MIPIM UK

Zaha Hadid and her business partner Patrik Schumacher have told AJ of their desire to break into the office and residential markets in the UK.

Speaking after a keynote speech delivered at Mipim UK in Kensington today (23 October) in which she showed dozens of the firm’s commercial and residential projects around the world, Hadid said it was ‘strange’ that she is not approached for this type of work here.

‘I’m not really into schmoozing,’ she said. ‘People think we only do cultural buildings even though we have lots of commercial work abroad.’

Clerkenwell-based Zaha Hadid Architects now has 36 projects on site around the globe and employs around 400 people.

Schumacher said: ‘We look around us in London and we see all these cranes and wonder why we’re not a part of it. We did start to put out the message a few years ago but there is a pre-conception that we’re not interested or there’s a doubt about the product we deliver.

We see all these cranes and wonder why we’re not a part of it

‘We are a very safe pair of hands in terms of the characters we have and the services we can deliver from A-Z. We can do everything like site supervision and delivery, construction documents – we have the full capabilities.’

He added that the firm was particularly interested in high-end residential schemes and high-density mixed-use developments.

‘We should be part of this wonderful London renaissance’, he added.

Asked about a potential practice name change to include Schumacher – something which the firm has been mulling for at least three years - Hadid said with a smile: ‘I don’t know yet, it depends on the other party.’

She has previously said that Schumacher ‘needs to commit himself’ before the name of the world-renowned practice is adapted.

Introducing Hadid before her speech, AJ editorial director Paul Finch claimed she was one of just three truly world-renowned architects alongside Norman Foster and Frank Gehry.

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