RIBA announced the one and only Zaha Hadid as the recipient of the 2016 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. Interestingly enough (but not too surprisingly), Hadid is also the one and only female architect to win the prestigious award in her own right. 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.
Recent 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 are Frank Gehry (2000), Sir Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941), Le Corbusier (1953), and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).
Zaha Hadid said in a statement: 'I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honour in her own right. I would like to thank Peter Cook, Louisa Hutton and David Chipperfield for the nomination and Jane Duncan and the Honours Committee for their support. We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. 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. It is always exciting to collaborate with those who have great civic pride and vision. Part of architecture’s job is to make people feel good in the spaces where we live, go to school or where we work - so we must be committed to raising standards. Housing, schools and other vital public buildings have always been based on the concept of minimal existence – that shouldn’t be the case today. Architects now have the skills and tools to address these critical issues.'
Here's a few photos of Zaha Hadid's projects around the world:
RIBA President and chair of the selection committee, Jane Duncan, stated: 'Zaha Hadid is a formidable and globally-influential force in architecture. 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.'
In his 2016 Royal Gold Medal citation, Sir Peter Cook writes: '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’. And surely her work is special.
For three decades now, she has ventured where few would dare: if Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance and then deftly folded them over and then took them out for a journey into space..."
The 2016 Royal Gold Medal selection committee comprised of RIBA President Jane Duncan with Sir Peter Cook, Neil Gillespie OBE, Victoria Thornton OBE and 2015 Royal Gold Medallist John Tuomey.
Find previous Bustler news on Zaha Hadid here.
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