Architect’s top prize for Stratford’s London Aquatics Centre

The London Aquatics Centre at Stratford and, inset, its designer Dame Zaha Hadid Picture: PA/Philip

The London Aquatics Centre at Stratford and, inset, its designer Dame Zaha Hadid Picture: PA/Philip Toscano - Credit: Archant

The designer of Stratford’s London Aquatics Centre was named the first woman to win Royal Institute of British Architect’s (Riba) royal gold medal for architecture today.

Riba praised Iraqi-born Dame Saha Hadid for her contribution to the 2012 London Olympics, with president Jane Duncan telling the BBC Hadid is a “formidable and globally-influential force in architecture”.

Dame Saha told the BBC the award was a welcome prize after a tough summer, which saw Japan scrap a $2bn stadium based on one of her designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s great,” she said. “It’s been a tough summer so it’s very refreshing.”

The architect, who has twice won the UK’s top architecture award, the Riba Sterling Prize, was made a dame in 2012.

The centre wasn’t the London-based designer’s first contribution to the capital, as she brought Brixton the Evelyn Grace Academy in 2008.

She also designed the Bridge in Zaragoza, Spain, the Riverside Museum at Glasgow’s Museum of Transport and Guangzhou Opera House.

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