Starchitect Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho complex in China has been praised by designers around the world. The design is so beloved that another developer in Chongqing is ripping it off! Designs of the three-building complex were released in 2011 and construction is already underway, but that hasn’t stopped the rival developers from moving forward on a two-building version. Called the Meiquan 22nd Century, the design was clearly lifted from Hadid’s plans, and now the two sites are racing to complete construction first.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Zaha Hadid may not agree with this pirated project. Her original design is a complex of three pebble-shaped curvilinear volumes, in true Hadid signature style. The Meiquan complex, although only having two buildings, is unmistakably similar to the Hadid project, and comes close to a direct copy.
In fact, that is exactly what Satoshi Ohashi of Zaha Hadid Architects suspects, that the Meiquan developers have somehow apprehended Hadid’s digital files and renderings. But Chongwing Meiquan deny these rumors on their blog, and say that their design is not a copy, but instead an improvement inspired by Hadid’s design.
Hadid’s Wangjing Soho complex was slated for completion in 2014, but the Meiquan copy is going up even faster, with an anticipated completion date for sometime later this year. No word on whether Hadid’s project will go into overdrive and be completed first. With no support by China Intellectual Property, the Meiquan 22nd Century may in fact open its doors before Hadid’s original design is complete.