Patrik Schumacher embarrassed by "Mr Nasty image" created after speech
Patrik Schumacher

Patrik Schumacher embarrassed by "Mr Nasty image" after World Architecture Festival speech

Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher has said he regrets the reaction to his recent speech about London's housing crisis, and claims he only wanted to trigger a discussion.

In a post on his Facebook page, Schumacher claimed that the public and media response to his World Architecture Festival speech – which called for social housing to be scrapped and public space to be privatised – was not what he was expecting.

He described it as an "avalanche of indignation", and apologised to friends and colleagues for embarrassing them.

"I was hoping to stir a discussion and got much more than what I had bargained for," he said.

"The topics I touched upon turned out to be too touchy to touch at all in any direct or straightforward way, or so it seems."

But the architect – who has led Zaha Hadid Architects since the death of its founder earlier this year – also said that his "emerging Mr Nasty image" was "no more than a media caricature constructed to shock and entertain".

He claimed his vision for a deregulated and privatised city was formulated in the pursuit of a "shared dream".

"Like all of us, I dream of a caring, inclusive, diverse society where everybody can flourish and realise his/her potential and nobody is left behind. All I say is inspired by this longing," he said.

Schumacher has come under fire for the comments he made during a keynote address at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin, which was attended by hundreds of architects from around the world, and which was first reported by Dezeen.

Schumacher made the comments during a keynote speech at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin, which was live-streamed by Dezeen and can be watched here in full

His presentation mapped out an eight-point plan for making London's housing provision more efficient, including encouraging foreign investment into property and gentrification.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has since responded to the comments, branding them "out of touch" and "just plain wrong".

"One of our biggest strengths as a city is our diversity, with Londoners from different backgrounds living side by side," he told London newspaper the Evening Standard.

"So whether these out-of-touch comments were designed to shock or not, anyone who thinks abolishing affordable housing altogether, supporting 'buy-to-leave' empty properties, and building on Hyde Park is the answer to London's housing crisis doesn't understand the first thing about our great city."

Meanwhile, Dezeen columnist Phineas Harper has urged the architecture industry to stop paying attention to the architect.

"The fact that the architecture world continues to give Schumacher airtime reveals the intellectual weakness of our profession, unable to see through the specious dogma," he said.

Read Schumacher's statement in full below: