Wangjing Soho by Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid building pirated in China

News: a building designed by Zaha Hadid for Beijing has been copied by a developer in Chongqing, with the two projects racing to be completed first.

Designs for Hadid's Wangjing Soho complex (top image), consisting of three pebble-shaped volumes up to 200 metres high, were unveiled in August 2011. The project is under construction and due to be completed in 2014.

Meiquan 22nd Century in Chongqing

Meanwhile, in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, a project called Meiquan 22nd Century (above) is being built that observers say is a pirated copy of Hadid's design.

German news site Spiegel Online quoted Zhang Xin, head of Chinese developer Soho China and the client of Hadid's Beijing building, as saying: "Even as we build one of Zaha's projects, it is being replicated in Chongqing."

According to Spiegel Online, Xin made the comments at the opening of Hadid's Galaxy Soho complex, another project for Soho China which opened in Beijing in October last year. Xin added that the Chongqing project is being built faster than Hadid's original design.

Satoshi Ohashi, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects, told the German website:  "It is possible that the Chongqing pirates got hold of some digital files or renderings of the project."

Ohashi added: "I am sure that some architect is already working on another version of the Guangzhou Opera House." The opera house, designed by Hadid, opened in Guangzhou in February 2011.

In a report on the legal aspects of the case, China Intellectual Property wrote: "Up to now, there is no special law in China which has specific provisions on IP rights related to architecture."

The site added that Chongqing Meiquan, the developer behind Meiquan 22nd Century, had refuted accusations of copying and posted on its blog: “Never meant to copy, only want to surpass.”