Zaha Hadid’s successor:Patrik Schumacher is an architect who thinks the world needs more unfettered capitalism, not less. He loves Brexit and the escape it offers from “the paralysing embrace of the EU’s interventionist regulatory overreach”
“I very much miss Zaha’s caring friendship, her energy, her probing humour, and much more,” he now says. “As a practice we miss her indefatigable and infectious passion for architecture and her relentless drive for perfection. However, we have pulled together and we are in good spirits, and I discovered that my own drive and passion for architecture and for the progress of our discipline – together with the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff – can propel us forward without loss of momentum.”
So the mission to spread the parametric word continues unabated, at which point in the story it might be helpful to say what it actually is. This is not easy, as Schumacher is given to explaining it in impressive but impenetrable strings of polysyllables, but essentially it describes a way of designing buildings in such a way that every element can change in response to the multiple parameters – the way people might move through it, for example, their frequency of encounter, their dwell times – to which it is subjected. It exploits the ability of computers both to process complex information and to conceive complex architectural shapes.
I discovered that my own drive and passion for architecture and for the progress of our discipline — together with the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff — can propel us forward without loss of momentum, says architect Patrik Schumacher in The Guardian’s My Blueprint for the Future.
An example of what he means might be theBeijing airport project, which is even vaster than the vast terminal Foster + Partners has already built in the city. What will this structure do that Foster’s non-parametric design doesn’t, I ask. “It will guide you and tell you where you are,” says Schumacher. “It will use slopes to direct you to something.”
He sees parametricism as the architectural style of capitalism, to which he is a relatively recent convert. “My early heroes were Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, people who wanted to make an impact”, but he now believes that free enterprise is the best means of the “human development of prosperity and freedom”. The innate logic of parametricism means that, in a truly free market, with “freer utilisation of land”, it would eventually triumph.
It also extends beyond buildings into products and clothes, for which reason he is taking part in an exhibition called The Extraordinary Process at a new London gallery, Maison Mais Non. The show is about “innovative technologies” in fashion design, a discipline that Schumacher says is “still behind the curve. It should learn from the sports industry and use gradient fabrics that keep shifting their porosity.” He has created two dinner jackets for himself, “elegant, but subverting the norm”. They use “zippers, and leather in particular zones, and lightness and perforations in zones where you might perspire more”.