London 2012 Olympics Aquatics Centre architect Dame Zaha Hadid dies aged 65

Emma Haslett
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Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid poses outside
Hadid died in the early hours of this morning (Source: Getty)

One of the UK's leading architects, Dame Zaha Hadid, has died aged 65.

Today Zaha Hadid Architects said Hadid, who is best known for work including the London 2012 Aquatics Centre and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, died suddenly while being treated in hospital in Miami in the early hours of the morning, after contracting bronchitis earlier this week.

Hadid established her practice in London in 1979, making her name with works such as The Peak in Hong Kong and the Kurfuerstendamm in Berlin, as well as the Cardiff Bay Opera House.

She was awarded the Stirling Prize twice - for the MAXXI Museum in Rome in 2010, and for Brixton's Evelyn Grace Academy in 2011. In 2012, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In February this year Hadid received Royal Institute of British Architects' (Riba) prestigious Royal Gold Medal - the first woman to be awarded the honour in her own right.

Sir Peter Cook, who addressed the audience at the presentation ceremony, called Hadid "prolific".

"We realise that Kenzo Tange and Frank Lloyd Wright could not have drawn every line or checked every joint, yet Zaha shares with them the precious role of towering, distinctive and relentless influence upon all around her that sets the results apart from the norm," he said.

"Such self-confidence is easily accepted in film-makers and football managers, but causes some architects to feel uncomfortable, maybe they’re secretly jealous of her unquestionable talent.

"Let’s face it, we might have awarded the medal to a worthy, comfortable character. We didn’t, we awarded it to Zaha: larger than life, bold as brass and certainly on the case.

"How lucky we are to have her in London."

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