The sincerest form of flattery?

Monday 07 Jan 2013

Time running out for Zaha Hadid project as 'pirates' replicate design of Wangjing SOHO

As WAN reported earlier this week, the world’s most famous female architect is facing a case of plagiarism in China with her latest project in Beijing. Hadid’s design for the Wangjing SOHO scheme has allegedly been replicated in Chongqing and may be completed before her Beijing project which is due for completion in 2014.

China is no stranger to speedy construction projects with schemes such as the T30 Hotel at Dongting Lake, Hunan Province which shot up in 15 days and another 16-storey building also completed in Hunan Province, this time in an incredible 136 hours. This time however, the race is about more than just statistics.

Developer Chongqing Meiquan Properties Ltd is advertising units at its commercial property currently under construction on Jiangbei Haier Road at a cost of 42,000 Yuan per sq m. The property - known as Meiquan 22nd Century - is to be 85,000 sq m in total with renderings clearly showing two curved building volumes very similar to those designed by Hadid in Beijing.

Local press appear to have been aware of this replica design since May 2012 however the story has taken to the global stage in the last few days after it was suggested by Die Spiegel that Chongqing Meiquan Properties Ltd’s development may be completed before Hadid’s Wangjing SOHO project.

In May 2012, China Intellectual Property gave the following report: “On May 14 (2012), SOHO China and Chongqing Meiquan held press conferences respectively. Chongqing Meiquan, speaking with Chongqing dialect, stated that the design of Meiquan 22nd Century was inspired by the cobblestones on the bank of the Yangtze River by which Chongqing was built.

“However, Pan (Shiyi, Board Chairman of SOHO China) took a tough stance on this issue, saying that Wangjing SOHO was designed to reproduce the image of Koi, which symbolizes ‘wealth, luck, health and happiness’ in Chinese culture, and insisted on filing a lawsuit. He also thought that in order to guarantee the healthy development of China’s creative industry, it was necessary to protect creative ideas and IP rights in China.”

The report also alluded that Zaha Hadid Architects initiated legal proceedings against Chongqing Meiquan Properties Ltd. WAN was awaiting confirmation of this from the practice at the time of going to press.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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