Since winning the Pritzker Prize in 2004, the first woman to do so, Hadid’s career has been on an exponential trajectory. Before the prize, Hadid was better known for her extraordinary sketch-paintings of unbuilt works; particularly, her competition-winning entries for “The Peak” in 1982 and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in 1994. Zaha’s “flying” forms were so revolutionary, that some questioned if they could even be made reality – hence why the Opera House was ultimately rejected, for supposed ”uncertainties.” Indeed, before 1994, the only built project she could boast was the complex, deconstructivist Vitra Fire Station.
Of course, it’s Zaha that’s getting the last laugh. Her back-to-back Stirling Prizes for the MAXXI Museum in 2010 and the Evelyn Grace Academy in 2011 are only the tip of the iceberg. In the last three years alone, she’s churned out a bevy of critically-acclaimed projects, including: 2010′s Guangzhou Opera House (a direct descendent of the Cardiff Bay design, according to The Guardian‘s Jonathan Glancey); 2011′s London Aquatics Centre, easily the star of the 2012 Summer Olympics; 2011′s Riverside Museum, winner of the European Museum Academy Micheletti Award 2012; and, just revealed this Monday, 2012′s Galaxy Soho in Beijing.
And there’s much more in the works. The Zaha Hadid Architects website shows 18 projects currently under construction, including the King Abdullah Studies and Research Center (KASRC) in Saudi Arabia and her first project in her native Iraq, the Central Bank.