Founder of Zaha Hadid Architects
A unique and hugely respected figure in the world of contemporary architecture, Zaha Hadid is one of the youngest ever winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, and the first - and only - woman ever to receive the honour (the highest in architecture).
Born in Baghdad in 1950, she gained a degree in mathematics from the American University in Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to study at the Architecture Association School, winning the school's Diploma Prize in 1977.
Her innovative, convention-breaking creations span the entire spectrum of design, from large-scale urban architecture to interiors, furniture and exhibition spaces, and have graced cities around the globe, winning her a plethora of awards and prizes.
Among her best known projects are the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, USA and the Hoenheim Nord Terminus in Strasbourg, France
In addition to her architectural and design work she is a gifted artist - she has exhibited at New York's Guggenheim and Modern Art museums - and also an academic.
She has held the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard University School of Design and the Sullivan Chair at the University of Chicago School of Architecture, and is currently a professor at Vienna's University of Applied Arts.
As well as her many architectural awards she has been made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commander of the British Empire.
In her Pritzker Prize citation juror Jorge Silvetti declared: "What she has achieved with her inimitable manipulation of walls, ground planes, and roofs, with those transparent, interwoven, and fluid spaces, are vivid proof that architecture as a fine art has not run out of steam and is hardly wanting in imagination."