Not so long ago, the world’s leading architects debated how architecture could be used to transform society by providing housing for workers, improving public health, and fostering social solidarity. Today, global architecture is peopled with “starchitects” like Hadid who specialize in mega projects for the global elite.
Some of the starchitects’ projects are beautiful, to be sure. But they also often waste public money, facilitate corrupt and exploitative practices, and strengthen a planning model that excludes the populace from decision-making.
Many architectural creations are poorly constructed, requiring exorbitant maintenance costs (invariably following massive budget overruns) and lacking consideration for the people who actually live in the built environment. Consider one of Hadid’s first buildings, a fire station. While aesthetically attractive, it was impractical for firefighters and was later converted into a museum.