Congratulations to Bagdad born, London-based Zaha Hadid, the first woman awarded the 2016 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.
The prestigious prize is awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects and personally approved by Her Majesty the Queen of England. Awarded since 1848, previous recipients include Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).
Hadid is rewarded for her ‘precious role of towering, distinctive and relentless influence upon all around her that sets the results apart from the norm’, explains Professor Sir Peter Cook, 2004 recipient of the Royal Gold Medal and selection committee member.
Fluidity, biology, avant-garde, mould-breaking, futuristic, daring – and expensive – are all terms used to describe her work. Building impressive structures from the Swiss Alps to the UAE, the ‘Zaha’ brand has been showered with accolades and medals, twice receiving the RIBA Stirling Prize – for the MAXXI museum in Rome and the Evelyn Grace academy school in Brixton – and she was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker prize more than a decade ago.
Hadid has a penchant for lattice-like forms, complex curves and seamless structural shapes. She was once described by her mentor Rem Koolhaas as ‘a planet in her own inimitable orbit.’