Zaha Hadid, first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize
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Zaha Hadid, first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize

Zaha Hadid

The first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize, and until today the only woman to receive the Gold Medal of the Royal British Institute of Architects.

She was born on October 31, 1950 in Iraq, in a high class family. Her mother was an artist and her father was a wealthy industrialist, co-founder of a left-wing liberal group and the National Democratic Party in Iraq. She had a brother who was a writer and an expert on Arab affairs.

Important events in her childhood

  • Study in England in the 60’s
  • When she was six years old, her aunt was building a house in northern Iraq. The architect was a close friend of her father and used to go to her house with plans and models. Upon seeing the model of her living room, something was unleashed in Zaha
  • At the age of 11 on a trip to England, she decided to be an architect

Important events in her youth:

  • 1972 she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut
  • In London, she enrolled in the Architecture Association and received her diploma in 1977
  • In 1979 she established her own firm in London
  • In 1983 Hadid gains international fame when she competes and wins with her design for The Peak, a recreational center in Hong Kong


Hadid was influenced by constructivists, artists in revolutionary Russia who fused abstract ideas and geometry to produce futuristic visions of architecture.

At what age does she start doing what she does:

At 43 years of age, Zaha built her first building, an impressive fire station, commissioned by a Swiss company. Another initial project was a spectacular ski jump that jutted out of Bergisel Mountain near Austria.

Important events in its maturity:

  • In 2004 the Pritzker Prize wins for the first time
  • She was in charge of the creation of the Aquatic Center in London for the 2012 Olympics
  • She taught architecture at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and Yale University
  • In 2010, the design of the museum of contemporary art in Rome MAXXI, is worth the Stirling Prize of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the best building made by an architect, an female architect in this case

Main works:

  • Fire station Vitra, Germany, 1993
  • Center for Contemporary Art Rosenthal, United States of America, 2003
  • BMW plant, Germany, 2005
  • Bridge Pavilion, Spain, 2008
  • MAXXI – Museum of the XXI Century Arts, Italy, 2009
  • Galaxy Soho, China, 2009
  • The Riverside Museum, Scotland, 2011
  • Pierres Vives building, France 2012
  • Aquatic Center, England, 2012
  • Messner Mountain Museum, Italy 2015

Zaha Hadid died on March 14, 20016.

By Billie Grace Ward
By Billie Grace Ward


Zukowsky John (March, 2019) Zaha Hadid British Architect, Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved May 13 2019 from

Qureshi Huma (November, 2012) ‘Being an Arab and a woman is a double-edged sword’, The Guardian News. Retrieved May 13 2019 from

Santibañez Danae, (October 2016) The Creative Process of Zaha Hadid, As Revealed Through Her Paintings, ArchDaily, Retrieved May 13 2019 from