Chinese Pirates Are Building A Knock-Off Version Of Zaha Hadid's New Beijing Complex

Wanjian SOHO Hadid

Photo: Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid’s wild architecture became extremely popular in China two years ago after she designed the Guangzhou Opera House in the Guangdong Province.Now her newest building in Beijing, one of 11 being built across the country, is so popular that pirate architects on the Island of Chongqing are copying it — and the counterfeit structure may be completed before Hadid’s original, according to a report in Der Spiegel.

Click here to compare the designs >>

Hadid’s Beijing project is known as Wangjing Soho, and consists of three asymmetrical round towers made to look like the sails of a ship against the sky.

But now the star architect is reportedly being forced to race against the Chongqing copycats in an effort to complete her original design first. She is at a few disadvantages: first, Hadid’s design calls for three towers, whereas the copycat version will only have two, built in a similar round, asymmetrical style. 

Moreover, Hadid has an award-winning reputation to uphold in maintaining the quality and integrity of her sweeping designs, whereas the pirates in Chongqing have no other view than to replicate her architecture. 

So although the London-based architect’s original building was set for completion in 2014, it seems both structures will be racing to be the first erected this year, according to Der Spiegel.

Zhang Xin, the billionaire property developer commissioned by Hadid to design the complex, has issued an appeal to stop the counterfeit building, according to Der Spiegel, but to little avail. Even though Wangjing Soho would have a good chance of winning a copyright infringement case, Zhang points out the court would not require the building to be torn down, but merely made to pay a compensation fee — a punishment he believes is not enough.

Zaha Hadid is more sympathetic, saying that if future copycat designs of her work add new architectural elements, “that could be quite exciting.”

The concept design of Hadid's Wangjing Soho.

The copycat design, as seen on a Chinese real estate website.

An aerial view of Hadid's design.

And an aerial view of the pirated design.

The major difference is the three towers in Hadid's version versus the two of the counterfeit building.

The Wangjing Soho showroom paints a picture of what the Hadid-designed interior might look like.

Organic, undulating forms are a major component of her design.

A 3D model of the future building is on display in the Wangjing Showroom.

See more from the famous architect.

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