Pritzker Prize 2004


Zaha Hadid

The old city of St. Petersburg, rebaptized by the Bolsheviks in 1924 as Leningrad, name by which it has been known until 1991, seems like the ideal site to celebrate the ceremony awarding the last Pritzker Architecture Prize to the Iraqi architect, whose oeuvre is indebted as much to the post-revolutionary socialist avant-garde as to the Russian constructivism of the twenties. Born in Baghdad in 1950 and based in London since the seventies, Zaha has the honor of being the first woman recipient of the substantial award with which the Hyatt Foundation distinguishes the best world architects. Her career, inevitably linked to the aesthetic quality of her drawings, began in 1977 at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture of Rem Koolhaas, but her reputation as an architect would be established with the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in 1993, five years before Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley would definitively include her as deconstructivist star in their MoMA exhibition of 1998. After overcoming the troubles and instability of the beginnings, and encouraged by the flood of commissions that pile up in her London studio, Zaha is at her peak.

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