Dame Zaha Hadid [1950-2016] studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before she started her architectural journey in 1972 at the progressive Architectural Association in London. She joined her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, where she became a partner in 1977. By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her trail-blazing theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).
Zaha Hadid’s work of the past 30 years was the subject of critically acclaimed exhibitions at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006, London’s Design Museum in 2007, the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, Italy, in 2009, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2011 and the State Hermitage Museum in 2015.
In 2004 Zaha Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2016, she will be the first woman to be awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Zaha Hadid’s other awards include the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Japan’s Praemium Imperiale and in 2012, Zaha Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture whilst the Royal Institute of British Architects announced Zaha Hadid as the recipient of the 2016 Royal Gold Medal. (Extract from Zaha Hadid Design)