Indian Architect & Builder
Upholding Legacy In Radical Times Image Credit: Indian Architect & Builder
Upholding Legacy In Radical Times Image Credit: Indian Architect & Builder

Upholding Legacy In Radical Times

It is quite ironic that the successor of one of the most prominent architecture firms the world is someone we have hardly heard anything about. And what little information that has been circulating is most likely criticism, or curiosity. Setting the record straight, we speak to Patrik Schumacher, the new principal of Zaha Hadid Architects about his vision for not just the firm’s future but also the architectural discipline on the whole. In what can only be termed classic ‘Schumacherism’, he minces no words in this interview as he speaks about his misinterpreted, controversy-ridden manifesto, the idea of starchitecture, the role of critics in the architectural discourse, and parametricism – an approach that relies on data and digital algorithms to formulate design responses to environmental parameters, which he sees as the dominant, single style for contemporary avant-garde practice.

Sharmila Chakravorty

IA&B: What is your vision for ZHA? Where would you like to see ZHA in say 10 years from now since the benchmark is already high?

Patrik Schumacher: ZHA is now addressing projects of all scales, all programme categories and building types, on all continents, from urbanism via architecture to interior design and product design. But in terms of vision, the focus is on the development of our discipline as a whole, and its consequent contribution to the development of the global built environment at large. As the most mature, the largest and the most prominent protagonist of parametricism, ZHA has an important role to play in leading the discipline out of its current retroorientation. Also, we intend to dedicate the next ten years to scaling up and rolling out the results of 35 years of research. At the same time, we are accelerating our Research and Development efforts – to twice as much as before. Overall, it will be clear in the coming years that ZHA has no intention to rest on its laurels.

IA&B: Is your vision in alignment with that of Zaha Hadid’s? Or have you a completely different future progression for the firm?

Patrik Schumacher: My vision is to follow the trajectory of Zaha’s vision. While she was perhaps not explicitly aiming to create a large firm, her expansive ambition was certainly leading us in this direction. Like her, I do not want to pay for an in

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