Zaha Hadid’s Massive Drop in Revenue

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Last week, we told you that looking at the Met‘s finances from 2008-2009 was a good indicator of how tough the economic downfall was on the museum industry (ignoring SFMOMA, of course), and now we give you another individual representation of the financial mess, this time in architecture. Building Design reports that starchitect Zaha Hadid, despite having had another year of buzz and seemingly nonstop commissions, has released her firm’s financials and they show a loss of nearly 70% in revenue in just a single year (“over £5 million in 2008 to £1.6 million in the year to March 2009”). Easy to understand how the economy would have taken its toll on every architecture firm, but hard to believe it would hit so hard at someone like Hadid’s level. Though we suppose that’s where you bring in that old familiar “Bigger they are, harder they fall” adage. Certainly helps paint a better picture as to why other starchitects like Norman Foster and Richard Rogers went through massive employee purges last year, why David Adjaye was finding his company teetering on the brink, and how the only way a non-starchitect seemed to be able to earn a nickle was by offering advice for a nickel. Though even with those lousy numbers, and Hadid’s own staffing purge last March, Building Design’s report also shows that her firm is one of the few that has come back and started growing, increasing their hiring by double digits:

A spokesman for Zaha Hadid Architects told BD: “The numbers demonstrate that the company continues to grow, driven by an increasing workload. It is expected there will be significant other achievements to report in the current year.”

One rival said he wasn’t surprised that Hadid was continuing to recruit instead of cutting jobs. “It’s the only firm that has bucked the trend [on recruiting] all along,” he said.