This week sees globally-renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid become the first woman to be awarded the prestigious honour
Dame Zaha Hadid will receive the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Royal Gold Medal at the Royal Gold Medal Dinner 2016. The black tie ceremony, which takes place in London on Wednesday 3 February, will see Hadid become the first woman in the award’s 168-year history to win outright.
Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by the Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”.
It has been awarded since 1848 and past Royal Gold Medallists include Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright and Sir George Gilbert Scott.
Known internationally for her work, Baghdad-born Hadid has designed the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, the Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome and the London 2012 Aquatics Centre.
On receiving her award she said: “I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal. 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.”