Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win the Pritzker Prize

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950-2016)

Architect Zaha Hadid in 2011
Architect Zaha Hadid in 2011. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images News / Getty Images (cropped)

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, Zaha Hadid was the first woman to win a Pritzker Architecture Prize AND the first woman to win a Royal Gold Medal in her own right. Her work experiments with new spatial concepts and encompasses all fields of design, ranging from urban spaces to products and furniture. At the age of 65, young for any architect, she died suddenly of a heart attack.


Born: October 31, 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq

Died: March 31, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida


  • 1977: Diploma Prize, Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture in London
  • Studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon prior to moving to London in 1972

Selected Projects:

From parking garages and ski-jumps to vast urban landscapes, Zaha Hadid's works have been called bold, unconventional, and theatrical. Zaha Hadid studied and worked under Rem Koolhaas, and like Koolhaas, she often brings a deconstructivist approach to her designs.

Since 1988, Patrik Schumacher had been Hadid's closest design partner. Schumacher is said to have coined the tern parametricism to describe the curvaceous, computer-aided designs of Zaha Hadid Architects. Since Hadid's death, Schumacher is leading the company to fully embrace parametric design in the 21st Century.

Other Works:

Zaha Hadid is also known for her exhibition designs, stage sets, furniture, paintings, drawings, and shoe designs.


"Working with senior office partner, Patrik Schumacher, Hadid's interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape, and geology as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms."—Resnicow Schroeder

Major Awards and Honors:

  • 1982: Gold Medal Architectural Design, British Architecture for 59 Eaton Place, London
  • 2000: Honourable Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 2002: Commander of the British Empire
  • 2004: Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • 2010, 2011: Stirling Prize, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • 2012: Order of the British Empire, Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to Architecture
  • 2016: Royal Gold Medal, RIBA

Learn More:

  • Zaha Hadid was the first woman to win a Pritzker Architecture Prize. Learn more from Citation from the 2004 Pritzker Prize Jury.
  • Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion by Kathryn B. Hiesinger (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Yale University Press, 2011 (catalog of commercial designs, made between 1995 and 2011)
  • Zaha Hadid: Minimum Series by Margherita Guccione, 2010
  • Zaha Hadid and Suprematism, Exhibition Catalog, 2012
  • Zaha Hadid: Complete Works

Source: Resnicow Schroeder biography, 2012 press release at [accessed November 16, 2012]

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Craven, Jackie. "Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win the Pritzker Prize." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, Craven, Jackie. (2021, July 29). Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win the Pritzker Prize. Retrieved from Craven, Jackie. "Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win the Pritzker Prize." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).