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Patrik Schumacher: The Latest Architecture and News

Patrik Schumacher: "The Denunciation of Architectural Icons and Stars is Superficial and Ignorant"

09:25 - 10 April, 2015
Patrik Schumacher: "The Denunciation of Architectural Icons and Stars is Superficial and Ignorant", Zaha Hadid Architects' Heydar Aliyev Center. Image © Hufton + Crow
Zaha Hadid Architects' Heydar Aliyev Center. Image © Hufton + Crow

In the latest of his provocative posts on Facebook, Patrik Schumacher has come out in defense of iconic design and star architects, arguing that the current trend of criticism is "superficial and ignorant," and "all-too-easy point-scoring which indeed usually misses the point."

Schumacher says that critics "should perhaps slow down a bit in their (pre-)judgement and reflect on their role as mediators between the discourse of architecture and the interested public." In the 1,400 word post, he goes on to elaborate that so-called icons and the star system are inevitable results of this mediation, adding that "explanation rather than dismissal and substitution should be seen as the critics’ task."

Read on after the break for more highlights from Schumacher's argument

Dear Martha: An Open Letter to the Pritzker Prize Committee

00:00 - 22 January, 2015
Dear Martha: An Open Letter to the Pritzker Prize Committee, Courtesy of Conrad Newel
Courtesy of Conrad Newel

As the Pritzker Jury begins its deliberations for the 2015 Pritzker Prize, this is a critical time of year for shaping the landscape of architectural debate for the coming year and beyond. The following is an open letter to Martha Thorne, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, from Conrad Newel, author of the popular blog Notes on Becoming a Famous Architect.

Dear Martha,

I have to hand it to you and all the people on the Pritzker committee, you guys are a very crafty bunch. Just when I thought I had you all figured out, you have now - even though only slightly - succeeded in confounding me.

From my 2011 analysis of the Pritzker, I figured that your potential pool of laureates was always a very predictable bunch. In fact anyone could look at my data and predict with reasonable certainty that the next laureate would most likely be an Asian or Caucasian male starchitect from Europe, The USA, or Japan. I further pointed out that none of your laureates have done much in the way of humanitarianism, despite the fact that the mission statement of the Pritzker also asks that the recipient should be making significant contributions to humanity. I maintained that this part of the mandate has been consistently overlooked.

Mies. TV: Alternative Coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale

01:00 - 26 September, 2014
Mies. TV: Alternative Coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale, Courtesy of Mies. TV
Courtesy of Mies. TV

In June of this year seven architecture students came together to film the vernissage of the Venice Biennale. Undaunted by the unrelenting Venetian sun and the prospect of being faced by some of the world's greatest living architects and curators, the team - spanning four nationalities - spent three days feverishly talking to anyone and everyone (in between pasta and espresso breaks). Having built up a comprehensive picture of the opening days of the Biennale in a series of short, uninhibited filmed interviews, Mies. TV proudly presents their alternative, slightly shaky coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale.

Watch short interviews with the likes of Jacques Herzog (Herzog + de Meuron), Daniel Libeskind, Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Sir Peter Cook (CRAB Studio), Wolf D. Prix (Coop Himmelb(l)au), Sam Jacob (FAT), and ArchDaily's very own Editor-in-Chief - David Basulto - after the break.

The Indicator: Thank You, Patrik Schumacher

00:00 - 31 March, 2014
The Indicator: Thank You, Patrik Schumacher, "Architects are in charge of the FORM of the built environment, not its content. We need to grasp this and run with this despite all the (ultimately conservative) moralizing political correctness that is trying to paralyse us with bad conscience and arrest our explorations..." - Patrik Schumacher. Above, the MAXXI Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
"Architects are in charge of the FORM of the built environment, not its content. We need to grasp this and run with this despite all the (ultimately conservative) moralizing political correctness that is trying to paralyse us with bad conscience and arrest our explorations..." - Patrik Schumacher. Above, the MAXXI Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

First off, I would like to thank Patrik Schumacher for taking to Facebook on March 17 at 9:45pm to let off steam -- thus starting a meaningful discussion on the role of the architect in society and culture. We could deconstruct it line by line, but I don’t think that will yield much in the way of enlightenment. What I take from it is that architecture creates form and should be free to do so without being restricted by ethical or moral imperatives to be social or political. But, as Benjamin Bratton remarked in reply to Schumacher, “To set the political to one side and at the same time make grandiose claims for how architectural form can in fact ‘remake civilization’, is a self-defeating program.”

Perceptions on the role of architecture in society can easily fall along class, race, and national lines. Coming from a place of privilege, it is easy to assume an apolitical, form-making agenda for the profession. The argument that architecture has nothing to do with the social domain, or the “content” as Schumacher calls it, is an argument for political conservatism, a hands-off, sink or swim argument for social Darwinism, that limits the range and impact of high architecture. Why can’t the best and most challenging forms of architecture penetrate through all social strata? Why shouldn’t it serve the poor? And why shouldn’t this be one criteria among others for judging the value of architecture? 

Ban vs. Schumacher: Should Architects Assume Social Responsibility?

01:00 - 28 March, 2014
Ban vs. Schumacher: Should Architects Assume Social Responsibility?, Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan


Dynamic Fields Workshop: Special Guest Patrik Schumacher

00:00 - 12 May, 2013
Dynamic Fields Workshop: Special Guest Patrik Schumacher, Courtesy of Parametrica
Courtesy of Parametrica

Taking place July 16-29, the two week 'Dynamic Fields' workshop consists of analyzing and creating structures responsive to environmental energy. Presented by Parametrica, the last day of project is dedicated to Patrik Schumacher, director at Zaha Hadid Architects and founder of AA Design Reseach Lab London. Schumacher will present a lecture on Parametric Semiology (Architecture as interface of communication) as intelligent structures and parametric architecture are the primary topics up for discussion for the whole event. Students or graduates, architects, interior designers, product designers, urbanism designers, engineers and all others who wish to partake in experimenting what the parametric design of such structures is in practice are expected to join both in the workshop and the conference. More information after the break.

Venice Biennale 2012: Arum / Zaha Hadid

06:04 - 31 August, 2012
© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

With their early work inspired by Russian Suprematism, Zaha Hadid Architects’ pays homage to the historical lineages of collective research that has led to the major works of today’s contemporary architecture at the 2012 Venice Biennale with the installation ‘Arum’. The pleated metal structure is derived from the work of German architect Frei Otto, who paved the way for material-structural form-finding processes. This installation is a response to David Chipperfield’s belief that the theme of ‘Common Ground’ is meant to “reassert the existence of an architectural culture, made up not just of singular talents but a rich continuity of diverse ideas united in a common history.”

© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

Beautifully crafted, the installation at the Corderie of the Arsenale also includes models and explorations of ZHA, related to the work of Frei Otto, Felix Candela, Heinz Isler. In this aspect the firm has able to expose visitors to the inspiration and research from modern architects that can be found on ZHA’s contemporary works. We saw Patrik Schumacher before the Biennale’s preview on top of every detail, leading to an impecable result.

Videos, photos and more from the architects after the break: