On Saturday 16 June, Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours List 2012 was published, announcing that Zaha Hadid has become a Dame. Arguably the most famous and celebrated contemporary female architect in the world, Hadid is to be awarded the title Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to architecture.
Joining Hadid on the list are: Jerome Frost, Head of Design and Regeneration for the Olympic Delivery Authority who received an OBE; Dr Lori Barbara McElroy, Director of Sustainability who was awarded an MBE for services to sustainable building design; and Francesca Berriman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists who also received an MBE. This year, 498 women were recognised for their services on the Honours List, representing 41% of the total number of titles awarded. Overall, 1,201 people were put forward to the Queen for consideration for a title, with 1,064 being successful.
On receiving her title, Dame Zaha Hadid commented: “It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this award. I would like to thanks all my colleagues and clients for their hard work and support. I am delighted that architecture has been recognised in this way. My father went to the London School of Economics in the 1930s, and everything he learned at the time is why I have always leaned towards the UK.”
Zaha Hadid is the sculptural architect behind the much-celebrated Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, an elegantly swooping form which many have compared to a stingray. Internally, the building has two 50m swimming pools and a 25m diving pool, all three of which will be opened to the public after the conclusion of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Due to its location within the park, the Aquatics Centre will be the first structure visitors will encounter on entering the grounds.
There are several major dates coming up for Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), including the London BT Artbox Public Art Initiative today (19 June) and their involvement in the Venice Architecture Biennale which commences on 29 August 2012.
A number of ZHA buildings are also due for completion this year, with Montpellier Pierres Vives (a cultural building incorporating public archives, a multimedia library and Hérault Sport) ready for an official opening on 13 September 2012, the Broad Art Museum opening in Michigan this autumn, and Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Galaxy Soho in Beijing and Maritime Terminal in Salerno all completing in winter 2012.