Queen of architecture

Thursday 24 Sep 2009

Hadid announced as winner of prestigious Praemium Imperiale award

Zaha Hadid has been announced as the 2009 Laureate for Architecture at the Praemium Imperiale Awards for art in Japan. The prestigious award is a global prize awarded by the Japanese Art Association and has become a mark of the highest international distinction for the arts. This year a remarkable four out of the five category winners were from the UK: Richard Long becomes Sculpture Laureate, Alfred Brendel becomes Music Laureate, Tom Stoppard becomes Theatre/Film Laureate, and Zaha Hadid takes the crown for Architecture. In Painting, Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, actually a photographer, came out on top - the first time photography has been recognised in these awards.

Winners are chosen based on the impact they have made on the history of their chosen art form. Hadid takes the torch from Peter Zumthor who was last year's Architecture Laureate for the Praemium Imperiale award and is also this year's Pritzker Prize Laureate. Other previous winners include Lords Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, Kenzo Tange, Renzo Piano and Oscar Niemeyer.

Zaha Hadid's achievements this year include the completion of the Burnham Pavilion in Chicago celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Plan; the transformation of an exhibition space at the Manchester art gallery into a concert hall during the 2009 Manchester International Festival; winning the design competition for Cairo Expo City in Egypt and also in Egypt, the design of a monolithic business park called Stone Towers.

“It is indeed an honour to receive this recognition from the Japan Art Association.” said Hadid. “Working in Japan has been critical to the development of my work around the world. I will always be grateful for this support early in my career. My Japanese clients shared a passion for architecture - allowing us to investigate many things and design very powerful projects, interesting in their complexity and essential in developing our repertoire of work. Through our architecture, we can enthuse people and make them excited about new ideas."

Hadid and the other Laureates will attend the awards ceremony on 22 October in Japan, presided over by the honorary patron of the Japan Art Association, Prince Hitachi, younger brother of the present Emperor of Japan.

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