An Iraqi-born British citizen has become the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Architect Zaha Hadid, who is also one of the youngest people to win this prize, will formally accept the award and the $100,000 prize in a May 31 ceremony in Russia.
Hadid told NPR that she hopes that by winning this award, women will be encouraged to enter the field of architecture and excel. The Financial Times called Hadid “one of the most respected and original voices in contemporary design.” Her designs were seen early in her career as radical, but in the last few years she has been able to implement many of her ideas. “What was seen 20 years ago as extreme ideas are now actually achievable and possible to implement,” she told NPR. “So [the prize] is an acknowledgement in a sense that that work was not in a fantasia but it was really real and easy toÉ implement.”
Hadid was born in Baghdad in 1950. She studied mathematics in Beirut and architecture in London at the Architectural Association School. Hadid recently completed her first building in the United States, the celebrated Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati. She is among the five finalists competing to design the 2012 Olympic Village in Queens, NY, according to NPR.