World’s Foremost Female Architect
Hijri 1370-1437 (AH); Common Era 1950-2016 (CE)
Zaha Hadid, arguably the world’s foremost female architect, was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950. She earned a degree in mathematics at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon and completed further studies at the Architecture Assocation School in London in the 1970s. In 2004 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize that honors living architects “whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”1 The impact of her contributions also won her a spot on the 2008 Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. Though her built work consists primarily of cultural projects—museums, galleries, and venues—she reveals in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian a passion for designing schools, hospitals, and housing. “Of course,” she says, “I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people's lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society.” In addition to her work as an architect, Zaha is involved in academia. She has held Harvard University School of Design’s Kenzo Tange Chair and the University of Chicago School of Architecture’s Sullivan Chair. Her most recent academic position is that of professor at the Universität für angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Austria.  “Zaha Hadid 2004 Laureate: Biography,” Hyatt Foundation.