Zaha Hadid Architects makes fresh play for London following legendary founder’s death

Zaha Hadid Architects is looking to reconnect with London developers who were put off by the “perceived public persona” of its late namesake, Dame Zaha Hadid.

Practice director Patrik Schumacher told Estates Gazette’s global property site ( that misconceptions of the Iraqi architect among developers in the UK capital had blighted her firm’s attempts to win work in the city for years.

Hadid’s closest confidant for over thirty years, Schumacher has now stepped up to run the practice following the sudden death of the world-renowned designer at the age of 65 in March this year.

With a fresh focus on winning work in London he said that his “perceived more mellow and withdrawn personality” could be attractive to developers in the UK capital.

“I think Zaha’s perceived public persona and the way people saw her did prevent us from getting commercial work in London,” he added.

“We signalled interest again and again and there was this overriding perception that her personality was just too strong. But she was so misunderstood. What a lot of people thought of her was just not right.”

Within weeks of Hadid’s death of a heart attack in Miami on March 31, the practice set out its stall with an announcement that it would continue to operate under the same name. Though Schumacher – who joined ZHA in 1988 – told Estates Gazette that he would “never say never” regarding the brand and name of the firm in the future.

Hadid, who was born in Baghdad in 1950, was known just as much for her iconic, curved designs as for her strong personality. “Men don’t listen to me,” she said back in 2008. “That’s why I have to give them hell.”

Emily Wright, global editor of Estates Gazette, said:

“Zaha Hadid was an inspiration. A visionary with a wicked sense of humour. But perceptions of her public persona were problematic when it came to her practice winning work in London. Hopefully Patrik Schumacher’s vision for the future of the firm will see the emergence of more ZHA design in the UK capital.”