Dezeen Magazine

Zaha Hadid Architects distances itself from Patrik Schumacher's manifesto

Zaha Hadid Architects has written an open letter separating itself from the housing vision set out by director Patrik Schumacher.

"Patrik Schumacher's 'urban policy manifesto' does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects' past – and will not be our future," reads the letter, which is signed by Zaha Hadid Architects – although it is unclear who at the firm is behind it.

Schumacher described his vision for a deregulated and privatised city during a keynote address at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin, which was shared with Dezeen's entire audience via a Facebook live stream.

In the presentation, called "Housing for Everyone", he listed eight demands, which included abolishing all forms of social housing and privatising all streets, squares, public spaces and parks.

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

In its response, Zaha Hadid Architects emphasised the legacy of its founder, who died unexpectedly in March following a heart attack.

"Refusing to be confined by limitations or boundaries, Zaha did not reserve her ideology for the lecture hall. She lived it," reads the letter.

"Zaha Hadid didn't just break glass ceilings and pull down barriers; she shattered them – inviting everyone of any race, gender, creed or orientation to join her on the journey."

The letter also highlights the firm's commitment to diversity and inclusivity among its staff – seemingly in response to suggestions that Schumacher's ideas might be elitist.

"Embedding a collective research culture into every aspect of our work, Zaha has built a team of many diverse talents and disciplines – and we will continue to innovate towards an architecture of inclusivity," it adds.

"Through determination and sheer hard work, Zaha showed us all that architecture can be diverse and democratic. She inspired a whole new generation around the world to engage with their environment, to never stop questioning and never – ever – stop imagining."

Although Schumacher has a reputation for being outspoken, this is the first time he has made a controversial statement since taking over as taking over as director of Zaha Hadid Architects.

Zaha Hadid's friends and family have disowned Schumacher's statements, while the architect has put out a statement of his own, defending his intentions, and apologising to friends and colleagues for embarrassing them.

Read the open letter from Zaha Hadid Architects in full here: