Portrait of Zaha Hadid by Mary McCartney
Portrait of Zaha Hadid by Mary McCartney

"Stephen Bayley's criticism has the unfortunate undertones of sexism"

Comments update: is the architecture industry sexist? Dezeen readers are discussing the inflammatory issue after design critic Stephen Bayley described architect Zaha Hadid as aggressive, intractable and bitter. Read on for more on this and explore our comments page to keep up to date with the latest discussions.

Sexism debate: writing for The Spectator last week, Bayley criticised Hadid for walking out of a BBC radio interview. He also accused the award-winning architect of confirming "prejudices about what happens when a woman is scorned". This statement was a step too far for many readers.

"If she was a man Bayley would have referred to Hadid as full of conviction, strong, stoic and realistically honest," argued one commenter. "He would not be making these statements if Zaha Hadid was a man."

"[Bayley's] criticism has the unfortunate undertones of sexism," agreed Sarah, while a guest commenter added that some of his justified points had been completely "undermined" by his reference to her biological sex.

Not everyone agreed. "It appears impossible to level criticism at [Zaha Hadid] without being accused of sexism," responded Charles. "Your comment disingenuously avoids the point that Bayley wishes to make." Read the comments on this story »

Vancouver Museum of Art by Herzog & de Meuron
Vancouver Museum of Art by Herzog & de Meuron

Vancouver vanguard: Herzog & de Meuron's proposal for a new art gallery in Vancouver was praised for its proportions and minimally designed interior spaces by some readers, but others felt the design fell short of the Swiss firm's usual high standards.

"I've been telling people all year that symmetry is making a comeback," said Vincent, while James described the design as "beautiful" and "unique" respectively.

However, locals suggested the building would look out of place and fail to meet expectations.

"[Vancouver] is now a hotbed of exceptional architecture and is deeply committed to Green Design," explained local resident Richard. "In this context, Herzog & de Meuron's art gallery design – a tippy stack of glass and wood-clad blocks – is a complete failure." Read the comments on this story »

WorldBeing wristband by Benjamin Hubert
WorldBeing wristband by Benjamin Hubert's Layer studio

Band aid: Layer, the studio recently launched by London designer Benjamin Hubert, unveiled a concept wearable that could track individual carbon footprints. But would it be enough to change consumer behaviour?

"Another device telling us what to do," quipped Jimmy, while others questioned whether people needed technology to tell them what is already considered common sense.

"We need to use tech to help the world around us," retorted one enthused reader. "Amazing," added Olive. "This is the kind of thinking we need more of."

"Once technology has caught up and everything is properly tracked, the next step will be to get an allocation of carbon emission," hypothesised Joggl. "Once you go over your share, you will have to stay at home and switch the lights off." Read the comments on this story »

Dror Benshetrit
Dror Benshetrit

Designer as architect: Dror Benshetrit, founder of Studio Dror, provoked an angry response from the architectural community after implying that you don't need to be an architect to design buildings successfully.

"I'm sorry, but all those amateur architects are – in the end – still amateur architects and it reflects in their designs," wrote David. "I hate that creativity-for-its-own-sake nonsense."

"I think that the architectural profession deserves better from this website," added a commenter calling themselves Sim. "Just because someone is saying irresponsible stuff, it doesn't mean you have to publish it."

"The reactionary commenters here need to get a grip and consider Benshetrit's comments in relation to the numerous designers successfully designing buildings," responded Justin. "No amount of professional snobbery can ignore that." Read the comments on this story »