Zaha, Rogers and Chipperfield shortlisted
for Crystal Palace rebuild

Zaha, Rogers and Chipperfield shortlisted for Crystal Palace rebuild

News: Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and David Chipperfield have been named on a shortlist of six architects in the running to resurrect Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace exhibition hall in south London.

London studios Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins and Marks Barfield Architects also made the shortlist to recreate the "spirit, scale and magnificence" of the iron glass and steel structure that was designed by English architect Paxton to host the Great Exhibition of 1851, but was destroyed by fire in 1936.

Backed by Chinese developer the ZhongRong Group, the new exhibition venue will provide the centrepiece of a wider masterplan for the overhaul of the surrounding 80-hectare park.

Zaha, Rogers and Chipperfield shortlisted for Crystal Palace rebuild
Possible reconstruction view

"This is a stellar line-up of talent demonstrating the worldwide interest in this unique and challenging project," said London mayor Boris Johnson, who is chairing the judging panel.

"The rebuild of The Crystal Palace is set to produce an extraordinary new landmark for the capital, which will support the rebirth of this historic park and catalyse jobs and growth in the local area," he added.

Up to three of the shortlisted firms will be invited to prepare concept designs later this year. An overall winner will be announced shortly after and construction of the chosen scheme could start in late 2015.

Ni Zhaoxing of ZhongRong Group commented: "The expressions of interest and outstanding shortlist demonstrate the wealth and diversity of design talent inspired by the challenge of rebuilding the Crystal Palace in the spirit of the magnificent original."

Plans to rebuild the Crystal Palace were first announced in October. Dezeen columnist Sam Jacob said the reconstruction will "only make our sense of loss greater".

Main image by Vyonyx.

  • AlPose

    For the love of all that is holy, not Zaha. We don’t need a soulless monstrosity to replace a triumph of British engineering.

  • Astroexe

    Please, not Zaha.

  • Ivan

    How can you put great names such as Richard Rogers and David Chipperfield in the same line with Zaha? I will organise a protest if she gets to this project!

  • Rafic Bin Hassi

    Zaha’s buildings are perhaps the greatest of our time.

    • Emily Waterston

      Agreed, but not to reflect British engineering and the history of The Crystal Palace.

  • James Burt

    Can anyone give me a good reason for replacing part of a park with a huge glass box? Attraction? It sounds like a fantastic waste of time and money. Some things are better left in the past.

  • Nick Taylor

    Good Lord please not Zaha. She shows very little interest in history or context, two elements that would be key to a successful entry.

  • JayCee

    Never mind who is shortlisted for this folly. The real discussion should be why on earth it should go ahead at all. Crystal Palace is a residential suburb and not a terribly impoverished one at that. If one reads the project proposals it is clear that the developers are being particularly coy about the final use of the building.

    They make talk about it being a new cultural centre, but in reality this is simply the veiled construction of a new out-of-town style shopping mall backed by foreign investment and located next to a protected green public amenity. The sweetening of the pill. Boris Johnson should be ashamed to be backing this.

    • Ralph Kent

      You’re absolutely right – it’s amazing that we’ve got this far down the road without any of the architects shortlisted seemingly being too concerned about a dodgy £500m deal to effectively sell off half of Crystal Palace Park (Metropolitan Open Land) to the Chinese, invariably financed by shadow banking.

      As you say, the ambiguous programme is the giveaway here. Vague mutterings about cultural centre, a hotel, jewel-trading, etc. It seems fairly obvious to me that the real agenda here is to use Paxton’s Sydenham Hill design as a means of securing massive area and volume – there is clearly no way that a building of that volume and scale would ever receive consent today. Having achieved this, ZRG will then ostensibly try to make it work as a ‘cultural centre’ but when after a few years they haven’t (surprisingly) managed to topple the Natural History Museum and the V&A as a tourist destination, there will be a change of use application – cue a mixed-use development of bland retail and 2 bed flats.

      Meanwhile, half a public park will be lost to overseas speculators. The affect on local transport and independent retail will be devastating (Arups have said the plan is to make use of current transport arrangements, reverse peak flows, etc).

      Personally I struggle to believe the naivety of those who think that ZRG is some sort of philanthropic organisation. You’ve only got to visit their website to see what they are about.

      Shameful for the UK architects named above. Particularly Rogers, and his claims of social responsibility.

  • dave

    Rogers and Chipperfield both seem like great choices, I would love to see a Rogers glasshouse.
    Please not Zaha.

  • Iam azing

    Why do they need an architect anyway ? That building is already done. They just need Mittal and Saint Gobain :)

  • Emily Waterston

    This project should be created to mimic the late Crystal Palace. It should not be a modern monstrosity from Zaha. It has to show the past! I hope the British engineering will be emphasised. I also hope it will be used to display design and up and coming future aspirations like it was used during the time of The Great Exhibition.

  • Joanna

    My first reaction was not Zaha. Brilliant in her own right but I don’t think Zaha’s formula is fitting for this project either.

  • simon robinson

    Samples of the original iron work components survive as do the plans, so this is an engineering job. But yes, it risks becoming a tawdry shopping mall unless publicly funded.

  • Gary Walmsley

    The plans already exist. Sure some modernisation of electricity, plumbing and facilities need to be made, but this seems to be an engineering project. Why bring in a star-chitect that will just jack up the cost? Plus, as talented as she is, this does not seem like a project for Zaha Hadid.

    Also, nothing against the Chinese, but it seems like a shame that it takes an outside commercial enterprise to make this happen.

  • Richard Marston

    It’s a Trojan Horse project to enable yet more luxury apartments and the privatisation of the north-east part of the park to be unveiled later on.