The new head of Zaha Hadid Architects, longtime partner Patrick Schumacher, has come under fire for comments that some of Dame Hadid’s closest confidants say don’t mesh with the Pritzker winner’s beliefs.
The current issue came to the fore due to a recent keynote speech Schumacher gave at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin earlier this month that called for a more deregulated model of city governance and urban planning. The controversial architect’s remarks included calls for public space to be privatized, including the closure of art schools, the building over of London’s Hyde Park and the abandonment of social housing. His statements was met with criticism by many; London mayor Sadiq Khan said his views were “plain wrong.”
As noted by Guardian journalist Olly Wainwright, executors of Hadid’s estate responded forcefully with a statement noting that Hadid “would be totally opposed to these views.”
Executors of Zaha Hadid's estate come out all guns blazing against Patrik Schumacher's comments. How much longer will he be in his job? pic.twitter.com/FVHA9yqOfr— Olly Wainwright (@ollywainwright) November 29, 2016
Schumacher initially replied that his views were meant to be constructive criticism to provoke debate, but added yesterday that he’s “embarrassed” by the response and got “more than he bargained for” in an attempt to promote a wider discussion.
“I dream of a caring, inclusive, diverse society where everybody can flourish and realize his/her potential and nobody is left behind.”
In an official statement by Zaha Hadid Architects, the firm flatly states that Patrik Schumacher’s urban policy manifesto “doesn’t reflect ZHA’s past—nor will it be our future.”
And here is the official response from Zaha Hadid Architects pic.twitter.com/AftyrgLUyU— Olly Wainwright (@ollywainwright) November 29, 2016
Curbed’s architecture critic, Alexandra Lange, believes Schumacher’s comments are damaging.
"His comments were offensive to employees, as well as Zaha Hadid's estate's trustees, and potentially hurt the business. Hadid was never particularly political or theoretical -- when politics did come up she got herself into trouble, and she only began addressing the question of women in architecture head-on in what turned out to be her later years -- and Schumacher's parametricism was never a discussion outside architecture. Now he seems to desire her fame without the charisma, visual imagination or biography that made her fascinating to a general public."