Zaha Hadid’s successor: scrap art schools, privatise cities and bin social housing

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Zaha Hadid's successor: scrap art schools, privatise cities and bin social housing
Patrik Schumacher / © Andrew Innerarity/Reuters

The extreme views of Patrik Schumacher, who has taken over at the global firm, are causing outrage. His vision? Let the market rule – and don’t put equality before profit

Abolish social housing, scrap prescriptive planning regulations and usher in the wholesale privatisation of our streets, squares and parks. That was the message delivered by Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to a stunned audience of architects and developers at a conference in Berlin last week, provoking a flood of impassioned responses online – with both opponents and supporters declaring him to be “the Trump of architecture”.

The late Hadid’s work might have long been a source of astonishment, for its sci-fi forms and gravity-defying structural feats, but now she’s gone, her practice is prompting incredulity for a very different reason. The queen of the curve has been supplanted by the king of free-market libertarianism. And he’s not holding back.

In lengthy Facebook posts, peppered with capital letters and exclamation marks, Schumacher – who worked alongside Hadid from 1988 and now heads her practice – has railed against everything from state-funded art schools (“an indefensible anachronism”) to the “PC takeover” of architecture (“trying to paralyse us with bad conscience”).

Schumacher is a regular at panel discussions, if not on stage then sitting in the front row, first with his hand raised to admonish the speakers for being part of the lefty liberal conspiracy. But his hour-long keynote speech at Berlin’s World Architecture festival went further in expounding his radical worldview than he had ever yet dared. […]