Architecture, the Final Frontier for Pirates?

International
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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(Slightly adjusted) Zaha Hadid Pavilion (Courtesy John Picken / flickr)

(Slightly adjusted) Zaha Hadid Pavilion (Courtesy John Picken / flickr)

 

Aye, those swashbucklin’ pirates are at it again, matey! This time, though, they’re not after gold, DVDs, or designer purses, but the identities of architects. The Guardian‘s Jonathan Glancey relates that Chinese firms posing as British officers of Aedas and Broadway Maylan have been pursuing bids with false information. He points out the dangers that such a development might entail for the profession and wonders if starchitects like Zaha Hadid could be the next victims.

The troubling news broke recently in the British magazine Building, revealing the first two cases of archi-piracy. From the Guardian:

[A]t least two prominent British practices have been hit by a wave of identity theft at the hands of Chinese impostors, which have cloned their websites and submitted bids for building projects under their names… “They took information from our website and bid for projects. They had been submitting bids mainly for government projects before we found out.”

It seems like such a ruse would be difficult to carry out for long, but the point could be just to make a quick buck and get out. In the cases cited above, one Chinese identity thief was successfully prosecuted in China but the other disappeared without a trace.

Glancey posits, “But will the web pirates begin to raid British practices with a higher design profile? If Aedas and Broadway Maylan, why not Foster and Partners and Zaha Hadid?”  Aye, it’s enough to make one tremble with schadenfreude, ain’t it?[ Via Guardian, photo via John Picken / flickr. ]

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