Posts tagged with "Patrik Schumacher":

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Zaha Hadid Architects faces criticism over newly revealed London skyscrapers

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is facing community backlash over recently unveiled plans to bring a double-pronged, mixed-use tower to Vauxhall, South London. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, the building was submitted for local council approval in December, but has caught the public’s ire over the 53-story and 42-story towers that would rise right on the bank of the River Thames. Linked by an 11-story base, the Vauxhall scheme would hold 257 apartments and 618 hotel rooms across the two towers, as well as seven floors of office space in the base and retail at the ground level. Both the towers and the base will feature a glass curtain wall overlain with a unifying exoskeleton-like façade that stretches and decompresses as the building rises, exposing uninterrupted glass near the top. It would also become the tallest building in the emerging Vauxhall area, with the taller tower potentially topping out at about 607 feet. It would be ZHA’s first major mixed-use residential building in the United Kingdom, and the studio sees it as a “breakthrough project,” according to the Architect’s Journal. Local critics see the development as a “two-fingered salute.” The site had previously won permission for a pair of 41- and 31-story towers designed by London’s Squire & Partners, and residents, as well as non-profit groups, are gearing up to contest the development. “Although these buildings are better ­designed than the Squires ones, this application is attempting to add more height by stealth,” architect Barbara Weiss told the Architect’s Journal. ‘The River Thames is becoming a canyon and the price to the skyline of Boris Johnson’s liberal approach to tall buildings is becoming increasingly clear.” Other than the project’s height, advocates are also outraged over the lack of specific affordable housing promises, the decrease in residential units from the prior Squires plan, and the projected traffic congestion the project would cause. Compounding the controversy is that the ZHA towers would rise next to the iconic Vauxhall bus station, which was designed by ARUP in 2005 and now faces demolition only 13 years later. ZHA has for their part, pushed back against the controversy and claimed that fears of congestion or shadows were without merit. Jim Heverin, ZHA’s director, told the AJ that the studio was still in talks with the project’s developer over finalizing the number of affordable housing units. ‘When we came onto this scheme, it was right that we looked at the heights,’ said Heverin. “We evolved the scheme to create a new public square. Our scheme takes less land on the ground but is higher. There is a lot more density coming into this area. Our project fits within a master plan that has been looked at by Transport for London.” The soaring Vauxhall towers plan would seem to fit well with ZHA head Patrick Schumacher’s fondness for density and what the Guardian has called a propensity for “neoliberal privatization schemes.”
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“Come out Patrik, come out from under that table!” cry protesters at Zaha Hadid Architects’ London office

After Patrik Schumacher voiced his desire for public and affordable housing to be abolished, protesters have today targeted the office of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in Clerkenwell, London. In Schumacher's speech, made earlier this month in Berlin, he argued that state regulations stifle architectural creativity and development while giving tenants of public housing unfair access to city centers. Schumacher also called for 80 percent of Hyde Park to be built upon and for the privatization of all public space, all of which was part of his "urban policy manifesto." This has not gone down well with activists from Class War and the London Anarchist Federation who protested at around midday (U.K. time) and into the late afternoon outside ZHA's Clerkenwell studio. According to The Architects' Journal (AJ), numbers swelled to around 20 and demonstrators accused Schumacher of "driving the working class out of London." The AJ also reported that shouts of: "Come out Patrik, come out from under that table" were heard. Schumacher, however, is believed to currently be out the country. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Jamie Wilson, an architecture student who works nearby ZHA's office recounted the affair: "Under police surveillance, a few representatives [from the London Anarchist Federation] were speaking on a megaphone. They commented on the ideas raised in P.S.'s World Architecture Festival keynote and their potential outcomes for citizens of London. Following this they addressed the office directly, pointing out that his views should not be taken lightly by his colleagues (who have since issued an open letter distancing themselves from the matter). Issues of their publication "RESISTANCE" were being handed out to passers by." "What Patrik Schumacher has said is social fascism. If it’s not opposed early on, it will grow and grow […] we as working class people want to stop it right at the beginning," told founder of Class War, Ian Bone (no relation to Ken Bone) to the AJ. "We hope Schumacher will retract his vile views, apologize and get out of the country."

A photo posted by Maarten Mutters (@mmutters) on

  The anger from the protesters is directed at Patrik Schumacher and already ZHA in an open letter rebuked his words, saying: "Patrik Schumacher’s ‘urban policy manifesto’ does not reflect Zaha Hadid Architects’ past—and will not be our future." Olly Wainwright also tweeted a screenshot of an email detailing Rana Hadid, Lord Palumbo, and Brian Clarke's essential disavowal of Schumacher's remarks. (The three are trustees of the Zaha Hadid Foundation and executors of Hadid's estate). Schumacher himself has also responded to the furore. "I was hoping to stir a discussion and got much more than what I had bargained for," he said on his Facebook page in an apologetic statement according to Dezeen. "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." He continued, going on to say: "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."
Despite ZHA's open letter, according to CLAD Global, a ZHA spokesperson reaffirmed Schumacher's position in the company. They said: “Patrik’s position is certainly not under any threat; he remains our principal. Patrik is currently in Asia, along with other senior members of the practice, for a topping out ceremony.” Current London Mayor Sadiq Khan however, has not been impressed by Schumacher's comments. "One of our biggest strengths as a city is our diversity, with Londoners from different backgrounds living side by side," he said speaking in 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."
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Zaha Hadid Architects and Patrik Schumacher openly feud over public housing and privatizing public space

One of the world's top architecture firms has entered a public row with one of its partners. On November 17, Patrik Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and renowned proponent of parametricism, took the stage at the World Architecture Forum in Berlin to deliver a speech that shocked some: Attacking government regulation and bureaucracy, he described an eight-point plan that called for the privatization of public space, the elimination of government-issued land use policies, and the abolishment of all social, affordable, and public housing, among other similar goals. In the speech, he decried how such laws, regulations, and practices stifle architectural creativity and development while giving tenants of public housing unfair access to city centers. "All top-down bureaucratic attempts to order the built environment via land use plans are pragmatically and intellectually bankrupt," he said, according to Dezeen. Schumacher has made similar statements in the past, though with less forcefulness. Last August, he told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) that "We at ZHA see society’s development differently and I’m willing to talk about my optimism for more market-based organization processes and entrepreneurial solutions to societal problems. Solutions to maybe what we can perceive to be certain economic statements and stagnation in recent years." Earlier this morning, ZHA published this letter, which AN has reproduced below:
Open letter from Zaha Hadid Architects November 29, 2016 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. Zaha Hadid Architects has delivered 56 projects for all members of the community in 45 cities around the world. Refusing to be confined by limitations or boundaries, Zaha did not reserve her ideology for the lecture hall. She lived it. She deeply believed in the strongest international collaboration and we are very proud to have a hugely talented team of 50 different nationalities in our London office, including those from almost every EU country. 43% of architects at ZHA are of an ethnic minority and 40% of our architects are women. 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. 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. Architects around the world are calling for the profession to become more inclusive. The national and international press have also done a very good job highlighting the critical issues of housing and the threats to vital public spaces. 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. Collaborating with clients, communities and specialists around the world who share this vision, everyone at Zaha Hadid Architects is dedicated to honouring Zaha’s legacy, working with passion and commitment to design and deliver the most transformational projects for all. Zaha Hadid Architects  (Copyright © Zaha Hadid Architects)
It remains unclear exactly who authored the piece, or who among the firm's members, trustees, partners, etc. pushed for its publication. AN  will continue to cover this story as it evolves. UPDATE: Oliver Wainwright of the The Guardian has tweeted this:   UPDATE: “Come out Patrik, come out from under that table!” cry protesters at Zaha Hadid Architects’ London office
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Patrik Schumacher on starchitecture: “It’s just not helpful… We don’t want to be stars”

When Zaha Hadid passed away this March, many questioned the future of her practice, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). As its leader, the Iraq-born British architect had played a starring role in the international design scene. Since her passing, ZHA has continued with Patrik Schumacher, the firm's only former partner, at its helm. Schumacher spoke with AN's Senior Editor Matt Shaw about what the future holds for ZHA, the impact of starchitecture, progressive urbanism, and more.

The Architect's Newspaper: How will ZHA continue? Do you feel like you have a good team behind you? 

Patrik Schumacher: Oh absolutely we have a great team [and] many layers of people who have been with us for many, many years. A lot of them are former students of mine. There’s a...much-shared sensibility and set of values—let’s say the DNA of the firm—deeply embedded in everybody’s way of working. It's also not just about being ambitious about ZHA, but being ambitious about giving leadership to the discipline as a whole. This is something I’ve been doing through my writings and attempting to do. There’s also the effort to overcome some of the prejudice, which the firm has faced through some of its critics.

What do you make of ZHA's criticisms?

I think this is based on a lack of understanding of our motivations. I’m trying to address this and I want to be more open to engagement with critics [by] explaining what we’re really about. We don’t want to be stars. We don’t want to become rich quick. We’re not insensitive to social and political issues. We actually share a lot with those critical of our work, critics who sometimes seem to take the moral high ground. What we all share, and should be expected to share as a basis for conversation, is a commitment to societal development, progress, emancipation, freedom, prosperity, and attempt to make architecture relevant to [the] development of the city and society. These kinds of shared motivations should be a basis for a conversation, [one that] also respects that maybe we see clients differently. We at ZHA see society's development differently and I’m willing to talk about my optimism for more market-based organization processes and entrepreneurial solutions to societal problems. Solutions to maybe what we can perceive to be certain economic statements and stagnation in recent years. 

Do you think that as the discussion around Zaha Architects changes from one of a star to a system there will be a change?

I think it’s very important because the starchitecture discourse, when the phrase comes up, always has negative connotations of superficiality, celebrity cult, etc. It was very unhelpful to us and certainly not something we or even Zaha was ever aiming for. It’s just not helpful. People become well-known because of a certain merit, because of an inspirational flavor and input of their work into the field. It is generated initially within the discipline through a form of peer recognition before being carried out into the public at large. At that point, some of the reasons why a person became well known get lost and you just have a free floating celebrity. That’s not helping. I don’t think that I’m aspiring to this, nor would I achieve this. At ZHA, we want to focus more on the ideas, principles, and, of course, with respect to society at large and the clients [with whom] we had established a reputation. Colleagues and critics should be able to realize that this is not only a superficial reputation, but a reputation which has reasons to back it up.

I’ve been saying that the discourse on icons is misguided in many ways. Iconography, in a positive sense, is something that becomes conspicuous because it’s innovative and has been rigorously developed from principles. Conspicuity, recognizability, and strangeness can be seen as side-effects even when the act of being iconic is not the driver or the original motif. Instead, it’s a temporary inevitability.

If you look at the Seagram building in New York when it arrived on the scene in the 1950s, it had the shock of a different form of "new." It was incredibly iconic and of a totally new civilization. However, this is only a temporary condition. Now the city has been remade in its image and you hardly notice it. Only architects who are aware of this notice. That is the way we should look at some of our work. As temporarily conspicuous and not necessarily something which we are craving for. Our work is not meant to be a spectacle and this is important to realize because it can very easily become a target for icon and star bashing. This is incredibly unhelpful because it’s no longer talking about the merit and demerit the of the work, its arguments, and the innovative thrust of a project, but rather its superficial celebrity status.  

Do you see the parametricism as being the "next modernism?"

Yes, though they have very different technological social paradigms. This civilization has evolved into a new condition and, as a result, the built environment is bound to change with it. In fact, it has been continuously changing but in ways which the discipline so far hasn’t impacted it sufficiently. If parametricism does not become hegemonic like modernism was in the 1960s, then it means that the discipline has become impotent. Currently, we have retro styles like neo-rationalism dominating construction in London and that simply means that the last 50 years of architectural research development made no impact at all. You might as well have shut down all organs of architectural criticism or schools of architecture or biennials because they came to zero. 

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Letter to the Editor> Francois Roche responds to Patrik Schumacher’s reproach of the Chicago Architecture Biennial

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The Architect's Newspaper recently published an excerpt from Patrik Schumacher’s now-infamous Facebook post which he also sent to AN. In response, Thailand-based architect Francois Roche sent us the following letter from his Facebook page; an edited version was also posted on Dezeen. For context, here is part of Schumacher’s text, and Roche’s unedited response. Read Schumacher's full statement here.

“The State of the Art of Architecture” delivered by the Chicago Architecture Biennial Exhibition must leave lay-visitors bewildered by one overwhelming subliminal message: Contemporary architecture ceased to exist, the discipline’s guilt and bad conscience has sapped its vitality, driven it to self-annihilation and architects have now en masse dedicated themselves to doing good via basic social work. A less charitable interpretation sees the hijacking of the newly created Chicago Architecture Biennial by a marginal but academically entrenched ideological tendency within the discipline that has abandoned their societal remit of innovating the built environment at the world technological frontier and instead pours its allocated resources into concept-art style documentation and agitation of behalf of underdeveloped regions and milieu. —Patrik Schumacher

From inside / a review far away from the Neo-Liberal Jealousy and last Übermensch libertarian Patrik Schumacher jiggering... this past week / but within the ideological and political Tabula rasa that operated on the situation / Chicago Cultural Center was (is) before everything a social center... the last homeless spot in downtown Chicago / With a tacitly organized passive violence, during the Biennial opening days only “members” with authorized badges were admitted / Rejecting the regular “trashy-freak” users / To quote Bourdieu ... Taste is an affair of business, exclusion, and social class... contemporary museums widely betray the emancipating hypothesis of their origin and foundation / At the Biennial all architects were participating to this “hygienist” strategy / But the most absurd ... was to listen to their speeches about bio-politics, greenish-color and bottom-up slummy romanticism, saving Willy and the world with Joseph Grima (the curator in charge of this specific Activism Carnival) on the throne of those selves-complaisance-indulgence... at the spot and the time where the Cultural-Social Center became “bunkerized.” ... Between Patrik and Zaha, who are ignoring with cynicism the workers’ dramatic condition of servitude in Abu Dhabi, and who participated to the biggest brainwashing enterprise of these past ten years: technologies as a strategy of ignorance-arrogance-positivism (pleonasm), and symmetrically the participants of this Biennial who “naively and innocently” excluded the damaged bodies and disordered minds, while wearing their black Penguin suits to moralistically enact political entertainment... WHO are the most criminal? Simply the two faces of the same coin or bitcoin... feeding themselves as a reciprocity simulacrum, as Ping-Pong between the Cynical and the Clown... the history of intellectual Tabula rasa... of architecture discipline... Could we find a crack between the techno-fetishism and at its opposite the techno-regression? It is so comfortable to choose one of these chapels... there are many advantages to reduce or to falsify consciousness and knowledge... Techno-sciences shouldn’t be an Object any more.... but a Subject that we have to re-appropriate in “democratic anthropo-technic” strategies... Francois Roche
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Letter> State of what art? Patrik Schumacher rails against the Chicago Architecture Biennial

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The State of the Art of Architecture, delivered by the Chicago Architecture Biennial Exhibition, must leave lay-visitors bewildered by one overwhelming subliminal message: Contemporary architecture has ceased to exist, the discipline’s guilt and bad conscience has sapped its vitality, driven it to self-annihilation, and architects have now en masse dedicated themselves to doing good via basic social work. A less charitable interpretation sees the hijacking of the newly created Chicago Architecture Biennial as a marginal but academically entrenched ideological tendency within the discipline that has abandoned its societal remit of innovating the built environment at the world technological frontier, and is instead pouring its allocated resources into concept-art style documentation and agitation on behalf of underdeveloped regions and the milieu. I am rather suspicious of these creative/artistic engagements with poverty. It sometimes risks mutating into a questionable aesthetization of poverty, a questionable romance. Questionable because what the poor of this world most probably (and rightly) aspire to requires little creativity and imagination because it is already plotted out for them by the ladder of development leading up to what has been achieved in the most advanced arenas of world civilization, where—in contrast—true, path-breaking creativity is indeed called for. I rather feel that our discourse has become far too moralizing and politicized. It’s all too familiar by now: Political correctness swamps the discipline and takes over its discursive spaces. For example, why should an ARCHITECTURAL biennial give a huge space to an ART project like Amanda WilliamsColor(ed) Theory when ART has already its own (many more) venues for public display/discourse? How is this more relevant to contemporary architecture than contemporary architecture itself? Patrik Schumacher
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Zaha Hadid unveils these icicle-inspired chandeliers made from light-catching, curvy fins

Zaha Hadid, the starchitect behind this sand-dune inspired headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, a high-design billboard in London, a parametric casino in China, and these uncomfortable-looking high heels, has introduced a new line of lighting fixtures for the Italian lighting company SLAMP. It's being called "Aria Transparent" and the fixtures take the form of icicles, or as Hadid's people put it—a dematerialized volume "where illumination and lightness blend, defining natural design, becoming almost aquatic." Yes, it is very Hadidian. The chandeliers, which come in small, medium, and large, have 50 transparent, droopy surfaces positioned on an axis to each uniquely catch the LED glow. In the video below, which be forewarned has some funky sound issues, Patrik Schumacher, a partner and director at Zaha Hadid Architects, explains that the line is intended to have a "beautifully filigreed, lacy sensibility." So the pieces definitely take Hadid's signature swoopy shape, but they have a much, ahem, lighter materiality than most of her built work around the world. Take a look at the video to learn a bit more. https://vimeo.com/129005669
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Review> The New Normal: Penn Symposium Explores Generative Digital Design

[Editor's Note: The following review was authored by Gideon Fink Shapiro and Phillip M. Crosby.] A generation’s worth of experimentation with generative digital design techniques has seemingly created a “new normal” for architecture. But what exactly are the parameters of this “normal” condition? On November 14th and 15th Winka Dubbeldam, principal of Archi-Tectonics and the new Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, called together some of contemporary architecture’s most prominent proponents of generative digital design techniques for a symposium, The New Normal, examining how these techniques have transformed the field over the past twenty years. According to Ms. Dubbeldam and her colleagues in Penn’s post-professional program who organized the symposium, digital tools have “fundamentally altered the way in which we conceptualize, design, and fabricate architecture.” Participants were asked not only to reflect upon the recent past, but also to speculate on future possibilities. Even among this select group of practitioners, the shared enthusiasm for digital techniques does not imply an affinity of beliefs or approaches. While Patrik Schumacher (who, notably, lectured at Penn one week later) would have us believe that parametric techniques will triumphantly lead to a New International Style, what the New Normal symposium revealed was not a singular orthodoxy, but rather a rich multiplicity of approaches. On the one hand, one perceives a renewed sense of craftsmanship in which computation and robot-assisted fabrication can "extend the potential of what the hand can do," in the words of Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio. On the other hand, ever-increasing computational and 3D-modeling power have nourished a whole field of virtual "screen architecture" that follows in the tradition of conceptual and utopian proposals. In his opening keynote address, Neil Denari discussed several contemporary artists—from Gerhard Richter to Tauba Auerbach—who use or misuse tools to elicit unexpected results. Similarly for architects, the computer should be seen as a filter or intermediary tool between author and work, rather than a seamless executor of authorial will. More pointedly, Roland Snooks of Kokkugia asked, "What are the behavioral biases of digital design tools?" He then suggested that contemporary architects might need to invent and design their own tools (software plug-ins and algorithms) in parallel with the architecture. Simon Kim of IK Studio went so far as to attribute to machines an agency once reserved for humans. And Francois Roche of New-Territories Architects said, "We have to torture the machine" to stretch its conventional functions, teasing out new "erotic bodies" and "ways to tell a story" through playful cunning. Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix were all invoked, but not by the speaker who wore sunglasses during his talk—Jason Payne of Hirsuta. Citing previously published remarks by Jeffrey Kipnis and Greg Lynn, Payne urged architects to test the assumed limits of their digital instruments, just as Hendrix pushed the limits of his guitar by playing it upside-down and incorporating electronic feedback in his radical performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969. However, Payne cautioned, as he cued a slide of Eddie van Halen, the pursuit of technical virtuosity alone can lead to manneristic excess. Indeed, what made Hendrix's Woodstock performance great was not only his innovative guitar work but also his subversive and liberating rendition of the national anthem at a time of social upheaval, sharpened by his insider-outsider status as an African-American rock star. The point is, instrumentation cannot necessarily be isolated from the substance of a work and the social conditions in which it is produced. Tobias Klein gave voice to the digital zeitgeist in declaring, "We [human beings] are soft, malleable data sets." Yet if everything is now data, including bodies and buildings, how and to whose advantage is that data analyzed and applied? Selection criteria are inevitably human constructs that may take the form of artistic judgment, energy metrics, economic models, or political values. Ben van Berkel of UNStudio hinted at the conundrum of data analysis in his concluding keynote, in which he listed "different scales at which information comes together"—namely the diagram, the design model, and the prototype. But alas the Dutch architect, an acknowledged master of the diagram, did not elaborate on how, exactly, his office wrangles messy information into a clear design mandate. One notable absence from the slate of participants in the symposium was a critic or historian to situate the New Normal within both the history of architectural practice and the wider milieu of contemporary culture. While one of the most prominent theorists of generative design, Manuel De Landa, made important contributions to the discussions, his comments focused not on situating the discourse, but instead on the artistic repurposing of non-linear, morphogenetic tools developed by scientists to create more personalized digital form-finding devices. Also lacking were the voices of women, who numbered only three out of twenty speakers and moderators, including Ms. Dubbeldam. What the relentless experimentation among the symposium’s participants suggests is that, while there may be a new normal for the practice of architecture, it has yet to become normative—and that is a sign of its vitality.