Patrik Schumacher's position at Zaha Hadid Architects 'not under threat' despite controversial speech

Patrik’s position is certainly not under any threat; he remains our principal
– ZHA spokesperson

Patrik Schumacher’s position at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is not under threat despite the practice issuing a frank statement distancing itself from his controversial comments about social housing and the privatisation of public space.

“Patrik’s position is certainly not under any threat; he remains our principal,” a ZHA spokesperson told CLAD. “Patrik is currently in Asia, along with other senior members of the practice, for a topping out ceremony.”

Schumacher has faced mounting criticism over comments delivered in a speech at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin on 17 November, in which he described social housing tenants as “freeriders” stopping more productive workers living in the centre of London, and suggested that “80 per cent of Hyde Park” in London should be built over with a new city. He also called for the privatisation of all streets, squares, public spaces and parks.

Earlier today (29 November), ZHA wrote that: “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.”

Despite the critical tone of the statement, the spokesperson told CLAD that it “simply underlines the core values and principles we all stand for here at ZHA.”

In a separate statement from the one released by ZHA, three of the executors of Zaha Hadid’s will – her niece Rana Hadid, former Arts Council chairman Lord Palumbo and artist Brian Clarke – also distanced themselves from Schumacher. They said: “Knowing Dame Zaha as well as we did, we can state categorically that she would have been totally opposed to [Schumacher’s] views and would have disassociated herself from them. We personally also totally disagree with these views.”

Schumacher has led ZHA and their 400-strong team since Zaha Hadid’s death in March. In a recent interview with CLAD, he vowed the studio will continue to flourish, remaining “the go-to address when it comes to major projects of significance.”

At the time, he said: “The focus at the moment is on establishing the notion in the world that ZHA is continuing; that there's a strong collective leadership which is the same as it was and that the way we develop projects – which was always collaborative – is continuing.”

Zaha Hadid Architects  Patrik Schumacher  Zaha Hadid 
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Patrik Schumacher’s position at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is not under threat despite the practice issuing a frank statement distancing itself from his controversial comments about social housing and the privatisation of public space. “Patrik’s position is certainly not under any threat; he remains our principal,” a ZHA spokesperson told CLAD. “Patrik is currently in Asia, along with other senior members of the practice, for a topping out ceremony.” Schumacher
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Patrik Schumacher's position at Zaha Hadid Architects is safe, CLAD has been told / Zaha Hadid Architects
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