'Copycat'design flatters architect
“Starchitect” Zaha Hadid is a much admired figure in China since she built the Guangzhou Opera House, but now that admiration is being taken a step further.
The developer of her latest project claims a group of copycat architects is building a version of one of her designs.
The 500,000sq m Wangjing Soho office and retail complex in Beijing is made up of three cones rising 200m, and is due to be finished by 2014.
However, a group of architects is building a very similar design in Chongqing, in southwest China. And the designers of the Meiquan 22nd Century building expect it to be finished first.
“It is possible that the Chongqing pirates got hold of some digital files or renderings of the project,” Satoshi Ohashi, project director for the Soho complex told the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
There are fake Apple stores, numerous copies of the Eifel Tower and even a copy of the Austrian village of Halstatt, and the Meiquan 22nd Century designers deny they ripped off her designs.
Ms Hadid, who became the first woman to win the Pritzker prize for architecture in 2004, has completed 11 projects in China, of which the Galaxy Soho is the most recent.
The Iraqi-British architect was sanguine about the apparent copying, saying that it could be “exciting” to see cloned copies of her projects with mutations.