Zaha Hadid becomes first woman to win RIBA Gold Medal

by Jak Phillips | 24 Sep 2015

Zaha Hadid has been awarded the 2016 Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – becoming the first woman to win the prestigious honour in her own right.

Hadid, whose trademark dynamic swoops and complex curves have made her a global architecture star, was approved personally by the Queen for the award, which is presented in “recognition of a lifetime’s work.” Previous winners include Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1959) and Le Corbusier (1953).

The Iraqi-born, London-based Hadid first came to prominence in 1993 with her striking design for the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany. But it has been her work in the leisure sphere which has brought her biggest triumphs, such as the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013).

Hadid also became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. The latest accolade will bring her practice – Zaha Hadid Architects – a welcome boost after it recently lost the commission for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

“This recognition is an honour for me and my practice, but equally, for all our clients. It is always exciting to collaborate with those who have great civic pride and vision,” said Hadid.

“Part of architecture’s job is to make people feel good in the spaces where we live, go to school or where we work – so we must be committed to raising standards.”

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Zaha Hadid has been awarded the 2016 Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – becoming the first woman to win the prestigious honour in her own right. Hadid, whose trademark dynamic swoops and complex curves have made her a global architecture star, was approved personally by the Queen for the award, which is presented in “recognition of a lifetime’s work.” Previous winners include Frank Gehry
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Hadid also became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 / Mary McCartney
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