zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china
zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china
dec 30, 2012

zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china

‘galaxy SOHO’ by zaha hadid. now  a leading chinese real estate site builds an exact copy of itimage © designboom



in an age in which star-chitect buildings have become the norm: how important should artistic authorship be in the world of architecture?how territorial can we possibly be about an idea?


piracy has now entered a realm maybe few people expected, as copycat architects and contractors are making exact replica’s of established architects’ designs. sure, you can make a case for certain projects being ‘influenced’ by other projects, but this seems to be more of a shameless cloning, and zaha hadid, is finding herself to be the one of the first victims.


zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in chinabuilding as advertised on one of china’s leading real-estate sites


as she is now completing several projects across china, such as the guanzhou opera house, galaxy SOHO, or the particular victim of this story, the wangjing SOHO. adding to the client’s expected anger at a structure that will look exactly the same as his privately commissioned one, the faux-design is on course to open even sooner than zaha’s.



zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china(left) imposter building as advertised on one of china’s leading real-estate siteimage © sina(right) zaha hadid’s wangjing SOHO projectimage © zaha hadid




zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in chinacopied buildingimage © sina



the renowned architect states that cloning her buildings may not be a bad thing if it experiments with a new system , experiment or improvement, staying true tothe advancement of design. this is the first largest documented case,  highlighting the fine line between inspiration and imitation or better, why bother walking that line when you can just come up with something new?



zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china(left) copied buildingimage © sina(right) zaha hadid’s genuine projectimage © zaha hadid






zaha hadid: star chitect buildings copied in china(left) construction progress on SOHO replicaimage © sina(right) construction progress on the actual galaxy SOHOimage © designboom



some would say that copying other artists is completely necessary for creative history, or a least for most of the last 500 years, imitation was the sincerest form of architectural flattery —established during the renaissance, architects were trying to re-create the buildings of ancient rome. ideas bounced back and forth, …the early modernists wanted to devise a new language of design, but they, too, took imitation for granted.‘I don’t want to be original,’ mies is supposed to have said, ‘I want to be good.’

a 2004 article in the NY times entertained the possibility that the form of a proposed office tower in marseille, france, by zaha hadid might be influenced by the design of the eero saarinen kennedy 2005 ‘haven’t I seen you somewhere?’ a NY times article elaborates on the accusation of architectural plagiarism at a time when a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit brought by thomas shine, formerly a student at the yale school of architecture, against david m. childs, a partner at SOM skidmore, wings & merrill.UK architecture firm FAT’s director sam jacob believes that copying is both fundamental to how architecture develops and something that threatens its foundational belief in originality. at the venice architecture biennale 2012 FAT had created an installation called ‘the museum of copying’


read more here.

  • Hopefully the copies will be better designed, better detailed and better built than the Stararchitect’s versions!

    starchitect-wannabee says:
  • I think you’ll find Brunelleschi has had this same problem for far longer than Hadid. She ain’t the first as you otherwise suggest.

    Ninian MacQueen says:
  • This author needs to get a life, and stop being a Zaha apologist. The referenced design in China has few similarities with Zaha’s Soho project beyond the treatment of the wrapping windows. If those simplistic observations are the device used by the author to make his judgment, then why isn’t he also castigating Zaha for stealing MAD Architects design profile utilized in the Absolute Towers in Canada? I could also make the argument that Zaha’s building is a blatant rip off of the Watergate Complex, but I’m sure the author never stopped to consider that. If people choose to hire Zaha for their projects, then that’s their prerogative, but I for one do not see her work as revolutionary, nor do I carry the flag for those who attempt to forge a new zeitgeist without completely comprehending the zeigists they are rebelling against. Zaha’s work does not speak to me, as well as many other contemporary designers of my time fail to do. Designs that attempt to celebrate fluidity through the use of feminine forms do not speak to who I am, and thus I have difficult time trying to relate. And yes, while I can find a Calatrava building or bridge striking as an ephemeral response, I ultimate recognize the design as a masturbatory exercise conducted by a design team without any sense of those they are designing for.

    eric says:
  • “the renowned architect states that cloning her buildings may not be a bad thing if it experiments with a new system , experiment or improvement, staying true to the advancement of design.”

    This is why I like Zaha and this is what I feel so many people miss about her work. She couldn’t care less if her designs are universally beloved, her main focus is to design the unimaginable and push what architecture is into what it can be. Her love of theory is present in all of her designs.

    So many people say she’s an egoist, a maniac, and her designs are horrifyingly ugly and impersonal. May I remind everyone that the same was said of Le Corbusier?

    Theoryslave says:
  • A fresh style or design language is derived from new construction technologies or tools. Long before it comes available to the architect, engineers or software designers already envision the new possibilities.

    Hadid did not invent the fluid style. She is merely one of the first architects that made use of the new tools to realize such buildings. Anyone with access to the same resources would come up with such basic shapes as in this project or others. It is inevitable will see more similar buildings in the near future.

    Naturally there is also such thing as an architects signature, but this is something different then an architectural style. From her comment I believe she realizes this.

    Airborne says:
  • As a long-time resident of many cities in China, I can almost guarantee that the ‘look’ might be the same, but the substance and structure will not! It will be a low-cost mimic of the ‘original’ missing essential parts such as integrity of materials, lighting, ventilation, soundproofing, public accessibility, management and maintenance and facilities.

    My current city has a replica Tower Bridge of London, quite a few faux-Georgian housing developments, a replica Eiffel Tower, some other scarily familiar bridge and walkway designs, some sculptures that exist in Europe and some buildings reminiscent of other Chinese cities.

    It is hard to suggest that anything designed is not some ‘mimic’ of some other design, design ‘rule’ or design theory or ‘on the napkin’ sketch that someone somewhere else hasn’t done before. We teach our students ‘excellence by example’ and often do not make distinctions from where our inspiration spouts.

    True mastery is taking those ‘ideas’ from a multitude of sources and creating a space that exceeds expectations in a multitude of subtle and exciting ways and getting people to give you the money to build it.

    BigBadBoy says:
  • I dislike the “original”, and, I dislike the “copy” because that means I only need to look at something crappily similar in a different place.

    As for Airborne’s comment about being able to control ‘public accessibility, management and maintenance’, etc., you’re probably already aware that is substandard everywhere in China. So, if a firm that’s been in China for years and have seen their mega projects fall to pieces from lack of maintenence, you’d think they’d factor that into future designs, right?

    Architects are trained to adapt their knowledge of materials to fit an environment- that also means cultural intricacies. Any Firm that can’t learn to adapt is just a fat girl in a pink bikini.

    Daivro says:
  • Really amazing architect… I must say this is really amazing… in one word it’s incridble man….

    Sayeed says:
  • wow

    dbkii says:
  • I have been in Beijing/Peking, Chengdu, and Xiamen recently and earlier in Quanzhou. The whole country is very bad and full of pollution which is eating most of the buildings and glazing apart. Interesting design but from watching other designs from this architect, she does not really place alot of priority on function. As far as the design criticism of Le Corbusier – it was well deserved and rightfully so, and with that the comment is more on point than i think the author really wanted it to be. Case in point is the new and wonderful design of the Quanzhou Opera Building is great in concept but the reinvention of a glazing system on it is a failure based on observations and reports written and documented over the past few years. The irony about all of this is that Hadid puts a lot of spit and polish like its some movie premier and does an amazing job selling the concepts pushing the organic and natural flow of the building. If anyone has been in Beijing/Peking, they will know that you cannot see a building down the block because of the smog and dirt let alone the beautiful flowery appearance and lights drifting away and everything that makes it look so wonderful. That structure will be filthy dirty and the acidic nature of the air will eat the building apart piece by piece. In all a great form and concept for a three dimensional piece of art, but that is all it is and with an ego to boot.

    bacmorgn says:
  • Moretti ar-chitect copied by Zaha Hadid….

    bsidesign says:

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