ZHA open letter disavows Schumacher comments

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has issued a statement distancing the practice from comments on housing made by its principal Patrik Schumacher, following criticism from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Schumacher was criticised for expressing radical ideas in a ‘manifesto’ during a lecture at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin, where he called for abolishing social and affordable housing, privatising public spaces and supporting the creation of second homes for the wealthy in London. In response, mayor Sadiq Khan was quoted saying the architect was “just plain wrong” and called his comments “out of touch”.

Asked if his views were representative of ZHA, Schumacher defended himself in a Facebook post stating “firms do not have opinions, only persons do”, but today his practice also highlighted in an open letter that it did not condone his views.

The architects wrote: “Patrik Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past—and will not be our future. Zaha Hadid did not write manifestos. She built them.”

ZHA added: “Refusing to be confined by limitations or boundaries, Zaha did not reserve her ideology for the lecture hall. She lived it.”

The architects concluded: “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.”