Zaha Hadid continues to blaze trails, especially for women, in architecture. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) just announced Zaha Hadid as the 2016 Royal Gold Medal recipient—making her the first woman to be awarded the honor in her own right. The medal is approved by the Queen and awarded annually in recognition of an individual or group’s lasting contributions to international architecture. The medal’s winners include some of the world’s most influential architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and IM Pei.
Although women have been recognized with the Royal Gold Medal in the past, those awards have been shared with their husbands or business partners. Hadid, 64, is the first sole female recipient of the prize. She’s also been the first woman to win other prestigious architecture awards, including the Priztker Architecture Prize and the Design Museum Design of the Year Award. Her architecture’s signature curves and organic shapes have earned international recognition. However, Hadid’s bold and futuristic-looking designs are no stranger to controversy, such as her proposed Tokyo Olympic stadium that met significant public opposition and was recently scrapped by the Japanese government.
“Zaha Hadid is a formidable and globally-influential force in architecture,” says RIBA President and chair of the selection committee, Jane Duncan. “Highly experimental, rigorous and exacting, her work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, is quite rightly revered and desired by brands and people all around the world. I am delighted Zaha will be awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 2016 and can’t wait to see what she and her practice will do next.” Hadid stated in a press release that she was “proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honor in her own right.”
Images via RIBA