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Why do people still work for Zaha?

Mar 6 '13 114 Last Comment
t a m m u z
Mar 9, 13 1:21 pm

"An architect, or architectural firm, who mistreats employees deserves NO empathy, nor respect.  That's how I roll."

thats not only how you roll. your thoughts and feelings are intertwined in a messed up way and you're not able to see where the lines should be drawn. firstly, you immediately assume that the snippets of the article translate into self sufficient truths and that the aim is not to be sensational.  secondly, you don't percieve that there could be wider picture, something that perhaps you, far away and dissociated from her office,  might not percieve but the interns might and the reporter left out. thirdly, you amalgamate that with your distate for how she looks and then, to top it, you also rule out sexism in architecture and you condescendingly state that you guys are just "daddying" the girls on site and not more. and on that last matter, firstly -assuming that there is zero sexism in your work space (and by the sounds of you, i have serious doubts that thats true), how can you deduce that there is no sexism in many other architectural practices? i've read lots of compaints by women architects in magazines and online about sexism at work - that counts for nothing? or do you perhaps perceive that women just complain because its in their nature and that there really is no sexism? i personally have been witness to it whenever there is a woman working with us...and im not talking of a natural and sweet "im attracted to you" thing, no in a quite repulsive manner actually.

you assume far too much and you seem to know far too little.

design
Mar 9, 13 1:22 pm

This thread wasn't about appearance. 

this thread is dumb, like TMZ. 

design
Mar 9, 13 1:29 pm

and observant played a part like a loyal fan., ADD style

observant
Mar 9, 13 1:31 pm

you assume far too much and you know far too little.

This is great.  I have been around the block.  Correct:  I have never seen sexism in an office I've worked in, unless it was perpetrated by someone else.  Most of the women I've worked with were married, had boyfriends, and/or were of average looks.  These were very sedate practices.  The discrimination I've seen has been along "where you went to school" and "marital status" lines and, in both of those, a woman can trump a man, if that is the criteria in the office.

As for a "chauvinistic" comment, I got "busted" in school.  We had to do precedent work for a building type and describe/analyze previous examples of that building type.  I described a building done by "Robert Venturi and his wife" - more economical than her full hyphenated last name.  One of three girls in the studio was miffed.  The guys thought she was an overly sensitive idiot.  She was.  She would constantly write "bleeding heart" articles in the a-school's paper.  One of the guys turned to me and said "You should have said Robert Venturi and the little woman," to upset her even more.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 9, 13 2:08 pm

Need a shovel?

design
Mar 9, 13 2:09 pm

to bury all the rambling yes

sameolddoctor
Mar 9, 13 2:32 pm

observant, you did not answer my question.

observant
Mar 9, 13 3:01 pm

observant, you did not answer my question.

Call me what you want.  I don't give a rip.

The deal is that we implicitly condone intern/employee abuse perpetrated by a select few stars all over the world and, if enough people mention it, there's probably a shred of truth to it.  It would be great if these people, and firms, could have their licenses suspended and their ability to practice hampered for any employee practices which go against the prevailing rules in a jurisdiction which are intended to create baselines for employee protection.

observant
Mar 9, 13 3:28 pm

Need a shovel?

Sure.  It's kind of vogue to cover up political incorrectness and/or reality.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 9, 13 9:58 pm

I bet Zaha would  have many more people's respect and admiration had she not been an Arab. Maybe she is being little too nice after all, considering how the Arabs and Middle Easterners in general are treated in Western societies. It is tough out there..

Josh MingsJosh Mings
Mar 9, 13 10:13 pm

Personally, I haven't liked the work she has done in the last few years. I love the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (I lived there as it was going up), but lately I haven't been impressed. 

It is appalling to think of what some of us would allow ourselves to go through to work with someone of her stature. One of the qualities I was looking for most during my job search was what places treat their employees right and respect a healthy work/life balance. I was lucky to be able to find a place that does so, which while design interests/typologies don't quite line up, I'm pretty happy being there.

I can only imagine how she would treat a significant other.  

observant
Mar 9, 13 10:14 pm

I bet Zaha would  have many more people's respect and admiration had she not been an Arab. Maybe she is being little too nice after all, considering how the Arabs and Middle Easterners in general are treated in Western societies. It is tough out there.

I have always gotten the read that Middle Easterners and South Asians in the UK, if professional, can do well.  If professionals, they do well in the U.S. - admittedly probably better in the health professions and engineering than in law and other fields.  I have not seen these kinds of issues in SoCal, but it's not representative of the U.S. as a whole.  The complaints are about how she treats people.  Those are the same complaints aimed at Fuksas, an Italian in Italy.  So, it's about personality more than it is about race, gender, religion or other attributes.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 10, 13 12:34 am

Sure. How blind and unobservant of me to see it otherwise... Aha, hmmm. The professionals...

Also if you think you can distinguish or subtract race, gender, religion or other attributes from a personality or more precisely, super ego, you have got to be kidding me. 

I met Zaha in her first appearance in Sci Arc circa 1981 when she was showing her paintings and Hong Kong Peak project. Even though the climate was much better back then, people were questioning her about the level of talent and expertise she bestowed upon herself and her "Arab engineers." She stood for them in a more of a proud Arab and defiant underdog tone. I felt a huge sympathy for her which I still carry based on that instance and realized what an uphill battle she was embarking early on. My impression of her was that she was a beautiful person in a warrior personality. You immedietly knew she wasn't going to compromise anything and take shit from anybody no matter what...

observant
Mar 10, 13 12:52 am

People can morph from a strong sense of conviction and humility to arrogance and hubris.  Many movie stars do.  I'm sure starchitects do as well.  Why is the word professional so upsetting?  What I do and my ethnicity, gender, and religion do not enter into that equation.  I just sit there and carry out my tasks, irrespective of demographics.  Unless, of course, you are implying that there is a pecking order based on "composite" demographics.  One of the big firms in SoCal I remember when younger was McLarand Vasquez et. al. - evidently the Vasquez part of that equation did not experience much grief.  Most people who go to a Persian, Indian, or Lebanese dentist don't get any "attitude."  Just a filling and a bill. None of these professionals are famous or household words, nor are they reviewed in a coffee table book or magazines.  Only the blabbermouth Dr. Oz types can't get out of our faces and have auxiliary sources of revenue.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 10, 13 1:47 am

The word is not upsetting. Just that your placement of it is so shallow. You must be a proponent of assimilation. Ie: "I only like my Arabs professionals."

dia
Mar 10, 13 3:01 am

I can pretty much forgive Zaha anything, but the shoe removal thing is beyond the pale...

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 10, 13 3:01 am

In that case, why do you have problems with Zaha Hadid? Like other "professionals" she hires and fires workers and sometimes treats them badly for some reason or other. Are you the morality police or mannerism instructor or the aesthetic referee deciding who "looks" handsome?

How do we know this shoe removal thing is carried to another level of fictionality by a writer?

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 3:15 am

In order to rise in a tough and male dominated profession like architecture I'm sure she had to develop a wicked witch personality. Arrogant, self-centered and Type-A qualities are common qualities found in politicians, athletes , millionaires and other successful people. They don't like bowing down to others, they follow their own path and they obsessively work on achieving their goals and that's how they become successful. This is just the dark side of them. Steve Jobs was also known for his dictatorial personality and hissy fits. Now one of the recently famous aholes is Marissa Mayer who built a nursing home at the headquarters for her kids and then banned telecommuting for everyone.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 10, 13 3:19 am

Anyway, why do people work for Zaha?

They work for her because they are almost guaranteed a vertical mobility in their field once they have that in their CV. "Professionally" speaking, she is the best fuck most of her office workers will ever have.

Where does this hero worshiping starts? In architecture schools... In my interview with Peter Cook few years ago, we have discussed how these things are a part of student culture.

Is this good? No... It degrades architectural labor and production. Down with iconism, cult of personality and hero worshiping.  

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 3:22 am

*correction: nursery

boy in a well
Mar 10, 13 3:34 am

asked generally:

Would you help a client remove their shoes?

is it totally beyond to ask? i dont think so. of course employer/employee relationships are different, but we all choose the level of courtesy and hospitality we bring to a situation.

doesnt mean you should lay down in a puddle for them to walk over you, of course.

t a m m u z
Mar 10, 13 7:38 am

"In order to rise in a tough and male dominated profession like architecture I'm sure she had to develop a wicked witch personality"

how about ethnic and (as we see here) body image bias to top?

but...the proof? in the absence of concrete proof (regressive policies such as mayer's are proof not to be compared to helping a not-so-young person twith the removal of her shoes) and in the presence of much malignment (i have read many posts by many different people citing this 'la femme terrible' myth in the case of Zaha but never have i read about Fuksas' disposition for instance ) this may be more probable:

"rising in a tough and male dominated profession like architecture, she will be made out to be a wicked witch personality"

aside from that, i think there is a cultural aspect to this beyond the personal. there are those who expect regimented professionalism (bland to some) to be the overriding principle of conduct and others who can accept that an atelier master will have an imposing personality with its positives and negatives.new world vs old world sort of thing. i do not agree that accepting the latter is necessarily evidence of a lack of self esteem. it can well be a character builder and the limits (or rather even the nature of these limits) will differ from the professional's.

incidentally, i was watching a turkish documentary a few days ago about young bakers' apprenticeship in a small town ... http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2012/07/2012711124732735848.html

confectionaries and pastries in turkey are an art. their turkish delight is infinitely superior to our version. havent tried their baklava though. the greeks' baklava sucks comparitively. now, if zaha were teaching her students how to make such yummy delights, and she if were a bit arrogant and they were helping her to remove footware, so what..they'll open a famous bakery in stamboul and get ze last laugh.

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 9:36 am

"a women seen to be unattractive, if she has a strong personality on par with "the boys", gets called a lesbian or a bitch. and if she were attractive, then let your imagination run wild with the innuendos and imagined acts verbalized behind her back" I agree with this. Women are expected to look pleasant and smile all the time. Just Google "random men on the street tell me to smile".

There is no denying that image bias exists. It is proven that good looks will get you a job, a raise and more promotions. Good looking people earn more than their less good looking counterparts. Tall people are more likely to be promoted to management positions because somehow people assume tall people are more confident and capable. Being fat is a huge disadvantage in the workplace so one the new career requirements are, along with a good portfolio, is getting on the treadmill and sweating your ass.  I personally bought books to reduce my accent because people have accent bias too. That being said if you're solely focusing on ethnic issues, speaking for architecture profession, I don't think Zaha's situation was any harder than a white skinny blonde. You put a blonde woman in front a bunch of men and she will immediately be treated like a sex object. Let's accept Zaha looks tough, she looks authoritarian and seems like she won't take any shit from anyone and to me these characteristics are more prominent than her skin color. I'm sure many people on here feels the same way. Attitude has a big effect on appearance. She looks much more like an East Indian than an Arab by the way.

As far as the question I'm not sure if I'd work for her. I'd work for her even though I don't even like her work but it would be a great experience and a resume builder, besides juniors don't report to Zaha, they report to more senior architects. What bothers me is she has the diva complex which is the main theme of the FT article so considering that...I'm not sure. She has the diva complex because she is more of an artist than a designer and artists have huge egos that don't belong in a design business. I see architecture as a design business. Zaha is trying to pull of both art and design. I worked for such egoist artistic people in the past and I'd never work for directly under one again.

By the way, kunefe is more addictive than baklava.

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 9:52 am

By the way, it just dawned to me..maybe the reason she couldn't get the boots off was because she designed them herself lol. Aesthetics before function.

observant
Mar 10, 13 11:32 am

There is no denying that image bias exists. It is proven that good looks will get you a job, a raise and more promotions. Good looking people earn more than their less good looking counterparts. Tall people are more likely to be promoted to management positions because somehow people assume tall people are more confident and capable. Being fat is a huge disadvantage in the workplace so one the new career requirements are, along with a good portfolio, is getting on the treadmill and sweating your ass.

What bothers me is she has the diva complex which is the main theme of the FT article so considering that...I'm not sure. She has the diva complex because she is more of an artist than a designer and artists have huge egos that don't belong in a design business.

They teach what you are saying in organizational dynamics courses - that is, the psychology of hiring, politics in the workplace, promotion, etc.  You are correct.  They know upon walking into an interview whether there's a positive vibe.  Tall people are more imposing. However, they say that, beginning at 6'6, it works against men.  There's also voice - not accent, but the clarity and confidence in someone's voice.  I would imagine an unaccented person might fare better than one with a thick accent.  I would imagine a married person with a family would fare better than a single person.  These are all realities of the workplace.  Then, if image bias exists, the biggest purveyors of it will be those in visual fields.  Include architecture.

True about the diva complex.  She's overcompensating.  It's bothersome and it's very artist/actor like.  As for her ethnicity, it's moot.  She has an unpleasant countenance.  Period. For that matter, so does Rosie O'Donnell, who is an Irish-American.  She too looks like she'd bark some orders and mow down a few people for fun.  Just guessing, but I'm probably right.

I'm still trying to figure out how this is a resume builder for 6 months or a year.  Working for Richard Meier did nothing for a previous colleague's career.

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 11:56 am

Oh boy I dislike Rosie O'Donnell so much and I'm saying this as an LGBT member.

observant
Mar 10, 13 11:58 am

Oh boy I dislike Rosie O'Donnell so much and I'm saying this as an LGBT member.

I can start a thread about Rosie O'Donnell-alike dynamics in our M.Arch. 1 class (3 year).  Not fun.

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 1:00 pm

"I can start a thread about Rosie O'Donnell-alike dynamics in our M.Arch. 1 class (3 year)."

Here is a potential thread Donna would look forward to. :p

design
Mar 10, 13 1:12 pm

yes let's stay retarded discussing things along the lines of cliché

 

and for god's sake, a younger ZH

most people here are not "in the know" to these things, they just ate up a dumb article.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 10, 13 1:15 pm

zaha was smokin

Would that be a significant component of her success?

design
Mar 10, 13 1:49 pm

narrowing it down to looks is reductionist, it's a low level parameter that isn't too important in an architect's success.

She is also a scorpio, not just any scorpio though. Certain environmental pressures, created this unique person.

 

Most architects want think they are unique, except they are not. So when they see it, they cling to the dumb in retaliation.

Most of the crowd that likes to fling poo at her work, are interested in sensory deprivation. So when someone does a dumb wooden barn, they flock to it like ants to food.

They then think they are "free"

Parad0xx86
Mar 10, 13 2:23 pm

Sometimes I dislike someone's work or even themselves but I still respect the person, Zaha is one of those people. Coming from a different background and being the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize I think she deserves respect.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Mar 10, 13 3:26 pm

"a beautiful person in a warrior personality"

Orhan you capture the world in your writing so beautifully. You make me pause and savor frequently.

I've slammed on a lot of Zaha's work here. Like you, Josh Mings, a lot of the more recent work hasn't excited me; frequently it's detailing issues that ruin it for me. But the CAC is one of my favorite buildings ever, both spatially and materially.

sameolddoctor
Mar 10, 13 3:51 pm

I am not sure if working with her leads to any upward mobility in career, unless it is for teaching, and schmoozing with starchitects.

I know someone that worked there for almost 3 years, and then spent about 1.5 years looking for a job. She is not working for a crappy corporate firm drawing up faceless office buildings.

observant
Mar 10, 13 3:56 pm

Here is a potential thread Donna would look forward to. :p

I like reality and anecdotes, often used by good instructors and typically remembered by students, and not walking on eggshells.

observant
Mar 10, 13 4:05 pm

She is also a scorpio, not just any scorpio though. Certain environmental pressures, created this unique person.

Wow.  And you advocated staying away from 'retarded cliche?'  What does her astrological sign have to do with anything?  For that matter, let's all put our astrological signs down and see who we're compatible with.  Additionally, upon reading my basic profile and ideal occupations, architecture is NOT one of them, yet there are famous architects born within the 30 day period of my sign, so astrology can be thrown out the window.  Another thread?

digger
Mar 10, 13 4:06 pm

Well ... actually ... I think she's quite the dame.

curtkram
Mar 10, 13 4:40 pm

For that matter, let's all put our astrological signs down and see who we're compatible with.

it amusing how you think others should provide you with personal information while you withhold said information yourself.  perhaps you think you need to be the person to moderate discussions rather than participating in discussions like the rest of us.  i suppose you use said personal information for future name drops with "i know this person who..." type statements.

tell us what school you went to observant

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 4:50 pm

I wonder if she has a concealed riding crop in her handbag?

observant
Mar 10, 13 5:25 pm

tell us what school you went to observant.

Sagittarius.  There, I participated.  And you?

Oh yeah, kudos to Zaha for one thing.  She completed a degree in mathematics in Beirut prior to studying architecture in London, essentially making her a M.Arch 1 of sorts (UK version), showing that some can became starchitects after studying something else.

As for smokin', in that picture, she looks fairly "dime a dozen" to me.

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 5:46 pm

Observant....no I was thinking she might use her crop on a member of  the "House of Lords or Commons"  They seem to be into a little kink!

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 5:49 pm

You know whip those ole Chaps into shape...maybe she practices with interns...

observant
Mar 10, 13 5:58 pm

Snook - I was just commenting on curtkram's questioning.  He thinks I'm trying to "gather" information for some reason.  On the contrary, I like to be free to say what I want to say, and among sensitive PC architects, who I think are that way because it's vogue rather than because it's their honest opinion, that's not always welcomed.  The anecdotes about friends who have done this and that are anonymous.  They indicate that, to some, architecture sucked and they wanted out, and to others, architecture is a "must have."  Nothing more, nothing less.  A very very competent gentleman I worked with, educated in an old school curriculum Midwestern university, who was the go-to person in the office for code and constructability said to me "Architecture is a broken profession.  I wish I hadn't done it."  He was just waiting a few years until his retirement.  Very HUMBLE man.  He couldn't wait to "get out of Dodge."

I appreciate your comment about the "kink."  There's a lot of kink in high places.  When learning about Renaissance architecture, we learned there was kink in the Vatican and the architects/artists they commissioned.  Actually, in response to a Josh comment, I don't think the Big Z would have a "significant other."  Despite the money and possibility of a being a househusband, I don't know who would want to sign up for that job!

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 6:06 pm

observant....do you write for Architectural Record as a Day Job?

observant
Mar 10, 13 6:10 pm

Snook ... I appreciate that, actually.  I really enjoy writing, and English is technically my second language because it was not spoken in my home when a child.  It's just as creative as architecture.  Sometimes, even more so.

No, I move a mouse and shuffle paper for about 30 allowed chargeable/non-chargeable hours per week, as is the case with my colleagues.

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 6:35 pm

damn your still on a 60 hr week, in these slow times.

observant
Mar 10, 13 7:08 pm

I'd love 60 hours ... if it came with 20 hours of comp time with which I could travel.

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 10, 13 7:17 pm

Ya I wish I had comp time....but as an owner....I have to turn down a  one week vacation on Martha's Vineyard  cause I don't  think I can break away for a week in June,  You know be a guest in a  clients house, walking on sandy beaches, living the good life instead of moping thru yet another project with yet another deadline, and worry about bills.

observant
Mar 10, 13 7:19 pm

Not an owner.  Wouldn't know. 

boy in a well
Mar 10, 13 8:42 pm

and suppose you were on said sandy beach, a guest of your client - say a woman in her sixties or so - would you help her with her shoes so that she too could walk on the beach?

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