Following RIBA's announcement back in September, Zaha Hadid was presented with the 2016 Royal Gold Medal yesterday evening. Awarded since 1848 and approved by the Queen of England, the Royal Gold Medal recognizes a lifetime's work of an architecturally influential person or group. Though particular projects in her practice haven't been without its disputes, Hadid has long been a force in the architectural field.
Being the first woman to win on her own accord, the RIBA Gold Medal is a crown jewel to Hadid's illustrious career, as well as another major highlight for women in architecture. She was also the first female laureate of the Pritzker Prize in 2004. and won the RIBA Stirling Prize twice.
"We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense, " Hadid stated upon receiving the award. "There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress. This recognition is an honour for me and my practice, but equally, for all our clients..."
In his 2016 Royal Gold Medal citation, architect Peter Cook stated: "In our current culture of ticking every box, surely Zaha Hadid succeeds, since (to quote the Royal Gold Medal criteria) she is someone “who has made a significant contribution to the theory or practice of architecture…. for a substantial body of work rather than for work which is currently fashionable.” Indeed her work, though full of form, style and unstoppable mannerism, possesses a quality that some of us might refer to as an impeccable ‘eye’: which we would claim is a fundamental in the consideration of special architecture and is rarely satisfied by mere ‘fashion’...How lucky we are to have her in London."
Recent Royal Medalists include Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey, who collectively won the medal for 2015, Joseph Rykwert (2014), Peter Zumthor (2013), Herman Hertzberger (2012), David Chipperfield (2011), I.M Pei (2010), and Álvaro Siza (2009). More notable laureates include Frank Gehry (2000), Sir Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941), Le Corbusier (1953), and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).
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