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Zaha Hadid Becomes First Woman to Win Pritzker

Zaha Hadid burst through architecture’s ultimate glass ceiling last month, becoming the first woman, the first Arab, and one of the youngest architects ever to win the Pritzker Prize, the profession’s most prestigious award. The 53-year-old, London-based architect, born in Baghdad, will accept the prize from the Hyatt Foundation in late May at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Hadid studied at the Architectural Association in London and was briefly a partner in Rem Koolhaas’s Office of Municipal Architecture. She has taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago, among others.

Twenty years ago, she became a cult figure when she won first prize at the Peak International Design Competition in Hong Kong for her visually antigravitational design for a sports club. Cantilevered over the heights of Hong Kong, the entry introduced visual physics into the field that took new eyes to see. The design quickly proved a foundation for architecture, a precedent for shifting Modernism’s paradigm from simplicity to complexity.

Joseph Giovannini

For the complete story on Zaha Hadid's illustrious architectural achievements see our upcoming April issue.