Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), ignited a firestorm after he outlined an eight-point manifesto meant to address London’s housing crisis. In the keynote, delivered at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin on November 18, the architect called for abolishing public housing regulations as well as privatizing all public space.
Today, both ZHA and Zaha Hadid’s friends and family issued open letters distancing themselves from Schumacher’s statements.
The executors of Hadid’s estate, which include the architect’s niece Rana Hadid, Lord Peter Palumbo, and the artist Brian Clarke, said that Schumacher’s views were “not, in any way, shared by us.”
The three trustees added “knowing Dame Zaha as well as we did, we can state categorically that she would have been totally opposed to these views and would have dissociated herself from them.”
Hours later, ZHA issued an open letter of its own, stating, “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.”
Such internal dissonance at ZHA called into question Schumacher’s future at the helm of ZHA. The Guardian’s architecture critic, Oliver Wainwright, speculated on Twitter, “How much longer will [Schumacher] be in his job?”
But according to a spokesperson from the firm, “The statement is not against Patrik; it is aimed at the ‘urban policy manifesto’ he presented in Berlin.”
“There are no fractures within the office, Patrik remains our Principal,” the spokesperson assured.
Read ZHA’s statement below:
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. 43 percent of architects at ZHA are of an ethnic minority and 40% 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 honoring Zaha’s legacy, working with passion and commitment to design and deliver the most transformational projects for all.
Zaha Hadid Architects
Josephine Minutillo contributed reporting