Zaha Hadid to make 100 staff redundant


I am quite surprised to see this... most of us know how successful ZHA has been during this downturn. I know they fired some people in the 2008 post-Lehman collapse, but ever since they have growth in huge numbers. It seemed to be "recession-proof" getting new commisions everywhere, from Singapore to Croatia or from Russia to Jordan.

The excuse seems to be the political situation in Libya and Egypt that has led to the cancellation/hold of some of their projects. Funny enough, she had a retrospective a few months ago in Bahrain.

Zaha Hadid Architects has admitted that it may have to axe a quarter of its 350 staff because jobs have stopped following the uprisings in Libya and Egypt.

The firm has told 95 of its staff at its London office that their jobs are at risk and has now begun a consultation programme.

In a statement to BD, last year’s Stirling Prize winner blamed “recent unforeseen events across North Africa and the Middle East” for the decision.

The practice said: “Accounting for the likelihood that some of the projects in the region will not go ahead as scheduled, ZHA must regretfully consider the option of potential staff redundancies. We anticipate that up to 95 redundancies may be necessary.” In all, the firm employs 354 people.

Zaha Hadid Architects was working on a conference centre scheme on the outskirts of Libyan capital, Tripoli, which it won with Italian building contractor Impregilo last year but which has now been put on hold. The €285 million (£250 million) project was due to be completed in 2013.

The firm said its Cairo Expo City scheme, which it won in 2009, is also under review until May. The 450,000sq m scheme is dedicated to exhibitions and conferences and is being built between the Egyptian capital and the city’s airport.

But the firm added that its Stone Towers scheme, a 550,000sq m mixed-use scheme in the Stone Park area of Cairo, had so far not been affected. “The practice will continue to explore ways of avoiding compulsory redundancies and minimise the number of employees affected by relocating staff to other projects and alternative positions where possible.”

In its latest set of accounts, the firm revealed that turnover had jumped 50% to £45 million in the year to April 2010 while profits trebled to £4.1 million in the same period.

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Mar 24, 11 2:41 pm

Crazy - things are weird these days - some firms are hiring like crazy other firms are contracting....

Example: Ellerbe Becket/AECOM cut 50 in Minneapolis while it is said Gensler has hired 70 people in the last three months in DC.

Mar 24, 11 2:45 pm

their employee can easily find job on other places.

Mar 24, 11 5:04 pm

I'll shed a parametric tear over this one.

I think the whole point of Zaha's work is to fuck with archeologists 30000 years from now.

"And the smooth curves of the Ferrari center prevented the dinosaurs (which we think lived at the same time) from easily humping the facade"

Mar 24, 11 5:19 pm

is that you, rusty?

Mar 24, 11 5:29 pm

I wonder if all the staff thats being laid off are junior level / interns?

Mar 24, 11 6:12 pm
"I wonder if all the staff thats being laid off are junior level / interns?"

why would they lay off free labor? layoffs will be based on regular corporate procedure: popularity contest.

Mar 24, 11 6:18 pm
job job
"And the smooth curves of the Ferrari center prevented the dinosaurs (which we think lived at the same time) from easily humping the facade"

I don't have a comment for the BD article but that quote above?
That is god-damned genius. I love the forum for these moments.

Mar 24, 11 7:34 pm

less of zaha's buildings. good news for me.

Mar 24, 11 7:55 pm

Barefoot: the clients like her. So she don't care what u think. But comparing to rem and BIG, I don't have best wishes for her. She didn't educate the next generation.

Mar 24, 11 8:53 pm
less of zaha's buildings. good news for me

Why so?

Mar 24, 11 9:56 pm
"the clients like her."

During the height of speculation bubble in real estate, these 'clients' fell in love with architecture that's part a disney castle from hell, and part cosmic bourgeois spectacle. Invest a trillion and make a brazillion in 6 months.

The bubble burst. Dubai is dead, its carcass tied to a pole in order to scare off rest of the vultures.

Dimise of Zaha's magic pony show has been long coming. No, the people of Libya and Egypt don't want more castles. They need bread first.

Mar 24, 11 10:08 pm
won and done williams
less of zaha's buildings. good news for me.

rem? is that you?

Mar 24, 11 10:08 pm

haha.. sorry! sadly no.. my interest in Rem, Zaha and pretty much all the starchitects is close to nothing! - the forms itself are not enough anymore (or ever was) to justify the social, ecological, cultural impacts that its having in those communities.

Mar 24, 11 10:17 pm

Rusty: I have all the reason to don't like zaha. But why you too? Post a drawing to speak your hate, please.

Mar 24, 11 10:19 pm
Cherith Cutestory

I feel like when you go to work for someone like Zaha, you have to know deep down that your position is not sustainable. When the overwhelming quantity of work being done is hi-profile competitions in foreign countries, there really isn't anything to fill in the billings when one of those projects inevitably falls through, as so many do. Never mind the pool of applicants that they get on a daily basis (and probably got even today) means your position can easily be replaced with someone that has newer skills and will work for less.

I do feel for those that may lose their jobs and I hope they got what they hoped to achieve for working for Ursula. Best of luck to them all finding new positions.

Unfortunately the Cairo Project was actually pretty decent, as it was a bit more Denari in style and not so blob-tastic.

Mar 25, 11 12:15 am

@barefoot, I always find so funny this bias against UAE and the Gulf countries. Obviously they are dictatorships with little/none respect to Human Rights, but China is in the same boat.

Will those "leading artists" also boycott Chinese projects? (don't forget that China is world's biggest art market now, beating US, UK and France). Also what about Russia? (which is a de-facto democracy).

Mar 25, 11 6:04 am

nothing against one particular country- the architects themselves- yes! and true I value only sustainable work of some kind- hence my earliest comment.

Mar 25, 11 7:08 am

You have sustainable work in Masdar, Abu Dhabi.

I found funny the reaction of some British architects (British were heavily involved in government-promoted projects in Libya)... it was something like "Ohh, we had no idea that Gaddafi was such a bad guy".

Mar 25, 11 7:19 am

hawkin, not so sure about Masdar... have you heard latest? They are pretty affected by downturn and challenges of doing what they promised..

Mar 25, 11 8:36 am

No idea. Anyway, I always assumed this kind of stuff (i.e. Masdar) are mostly marketing/publicity strategies just to clean their image.

Mar 25, 11 9:37 am

The idea for Masdar should work. Use heat to cool the building, in the meantime, collecting rain water by the giant overhang roof.

Mar 25, 11 10:27 am

hawkin see for instance this

Mar 25, 11 11:14 am

talking crap about developments in the UAE = stating that goat herding is cool (pre-boom dubai in the 1920's). who needs cities? let's all go raise sheep.

Mar 27, 11 9:51 am
chatter of clouds

you know, zaha, in hewbew, supposedly means "blameless"
and hadid, in hebrew's kin, arabic, means "steel"

Blameless Steel, can you blame her for being as tough as?

Mar 29, 11 1:28 pm

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