Pritzker Architect Dame Zaha Hadid was awarded with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 2016 Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony in London on 3 February.

Awarded since 1848, the Royal Gold Medal is given in recognition of a lifetime’s work and is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen to a person or group of people who hold significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”.

Past Royal Gold Medallists include Harry Seidler (1996), Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).

Hadid is the first woman to be awarded with the prestigious honour in her own right. Speaking of the announcement she says she is “very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honour in her own right.”

“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.”

Hadid is internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. Each of her projects builds on over thirty years of experimentation and research in the fields of architecture, design and urbanism.

Some of Hadid’s most notable projects include Messner Mountain Museum Corones in Italy (2015), Oxford University Middle East Centre at St Antony's College in the UK (2013), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011), Jockey Club Innovation Tower in Hong Kong (2014), and Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku (2013).

Although at present her work is not currently represented in Australia, Hadid has three multi-residential and mixed-use projects in the pipeline including one in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Melbourne.