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The New York Times has dubbed her "A Diva for the
Digital Age" while others simply describe her as
architecture's biggest rock star. Zaha Hadid's designs
feature smooth, fluid forms and bring to mind the
future as imagined by George Lucas, Gene
Roddenberry and sci-fi nerds everywhere. Like all
great architecture, these aren't just buildings but
works of art, and the success of her recent careerspanning
show at London's Design Museum is further
proof. Born in Baghdad but living in London
for the past three decades, Hadid earned early praise
in her career, particularly for her design of Hong
Kong's Peak Club in 1983. In 2004, she was awarded
the Pritzker Architecture Award, often dubbed the
Nobel of architecture, which annually honors a living
architect "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." Despite
her collection of international awards, she's also been
called a "paper architect" due to the infrequency in
which her designs are actually built. But those that
did move off the blueprint—most notably
Cincinnati's Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art
and the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany (which
sees the assembly line weave through the actual
offices)—are as breathtaking as any artistic rendering.
More recently the frequency of realized designs
has greatly increased, with projects like the Maggie's
Centre (a cancer patient clinic) in Kirkaldy, Scotland,
the Civil Courts of Justice in Madrid, the Abu Dhabi
Performing Arts Centre, the Guangzhou Opera
House in China, Dubai's Dancing Towers and more.
In her hometown of London alone she's got five
pending projects, including the Olympic Aquatic
Centre for the 2012 Games.