Dame Zaha Hadid


Dame Zaha Hadid has been named the 2016 recipient of the Royal Gold Medal, the first woman to be awarded the prestigious honour in her own right.

Zaha Hadid is internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary experimentation and research in the fields of architecture, design and urbanism.

Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”. Awarded since 1848, past Royal Gold Medallists include Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).

Speaking of the announcement, Zaha Hadid said:

“I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honour in her own right. I would like to thank Peter Cook, Louisa Hutton and David Chipperfield for the nomination and Jane Duncan and the Honours Committee for their support. We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress. This recognition is an honour for me and my practice, but equally, for all our clients. It is always exciting to collaborate with those who have great civic pride and vision. Part of architecture’s job is to make people feel good in the spaces where we live, go to school or where we work - so we must be committed to raising standards. Housing, schools and other vital public buildings have always been based on the concept of minimal existence – that shouldn’t be the case today. Architects now have the skills and tools to address these critical issues.”

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RIBA Honorary Fellowships are awarded annually to people who have made a particular contribution to architecture in its broadest sense. This includes its promotion, administration and outreach; and its role in building more sustainable communities and in the education of future generations.

RIBA International Fellowships reward the particular contributions that non-UK architects have made to architecture.


KEES CHRISTIAANSE, Netherlands – nominated by Louisa Hutton

Kees Christiaanse is a Dutch architect and urban planner whose work personifies the complementary nature of these disciplines: his architecture is rooted in the city and his urban planning is very much design-based. In his role as artistic director of the Dutch Building Department - a post he held in the mid 90s - Christiaanse combined the two disciplines harmoniously, fostering the Dutch urban renaissance of the late 20th century.



MARIO CUCINELLA, Italy – nominated by Peter Clegg

The Italian architect Mario Cucinella decidedly ticks the sustainability box. The firm’s solid experience in architectural design is backed up by an emphasis placed on the importance of energy matters and environmental issues. The team also majors in urban regeneration, in industrial design and technological research. Through collaboration with universities and the research programmes of the European Commission these lessons are fed back into the practice.


BJARKE INGELS, Denmark – nominated by Stephen Hodder

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’s practice BIG has come of age and is now working at a truly global scale. BIG is well known for pushing the boundaries of what is possible - many of the buildings defy traditional architectural conventions while achieving a balance between the playful and the practical, the sustainable and affordable. His Danish Maritime Museum – a brilliant re-inhabitation of a dry dock in Helsingor and its surrounding dock walls, was among the five finalists for the 2015 Mies van der Rohe Prize for European Contemporary Architecture and won an RIBA European Award in 2014.


Rick Joy, USA – nominated by John Tuomey and David Adjaye

Rick Joy is an Arizona-based architect, best known for an exquisite series of desert-based houses. His work is distinguished by an economic elegance of design, a close connection to site conditions and a refined sense of raw material in its construction. In 2002, Joy received the Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS, Canada – nominated by Stephen Hodder

The work of the Canadian architect Brian Mackay-Lyons is typified by his modern houses on the coast of his native Nova Scotia and his use of Atlantic Canadian vernacular materials and construction techniques. His work was always strongly influenced by the region's maritime landscape. In 2015 he won the RAIC Gold Medal, which recognizes a significant and lasting contribution to Canadian architecture. The jury said, ‘His work is universally recognized as pure, dignified, poetic and beautiful. It comes from an intimate connection with his communities.’


PETER MARKLI, Switzerland – nominated by Neil Gillespie

The Swiss architect Peter Märkli was nominated for RIBA International Fellowship in recognition of his work as a practising architect and also as Professor at the ETH in Zurich. Like his compatriot and contemporary, Peter Zumthor, Märkli has quietly accumulated widespread recognition and respect within the international architecture community to become one of the most significant Swiss architects of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.



PETER STUTCHBURY, Australia – nominated by Niall McLaughlin

Peter Stutchbury is an Australian architect working just north east of Sydney. His home (a modest tent) and office are on the northern beaches and he is a younger member of a loose grouping that includes Glenn Murcutt and Richard Leplastrier. His work shares the same commitment to an environmentally sensitive building practice based on craft and a deep understanding of construction, particularly joinery and metalwork. He has spoken with great consistency about the rights and values of aboriginal people in Australia and his practice clearly acknowledges the influence of their sense of the earth.



José Antonio Martínez Lapeña + Elias Torres, Spain – nominated by John Tuomey

The partnership of Spanish architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elias Torres spans for almost half a century. They work in the way most successful partnerships do: as a balance of opposites. Elías is the joyous energized whirlwind, José Antonio is the quiet centre, holding things together, providing the core and anchor to the practice. The work of Martínez Lapeña and Torres has a particular sensibility at its heart that keeps it separate from the shifting vagaries of fashionable form.



John Brooks, Former Vice Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University – nominated by Peter Clegg

It is unique, and surely will remain so, for a client to be shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize, named RIBA Client of the Year and to be elected an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA (not to mention having abuilding named after you) - all in the space of two years. But then John Brooks is a unique client.



Caroline Cole, architectural consultant – nominated by Stephen Hodder

Caroline Cole has worked tirelessly for architecture throughout her career. After studying architecture at Cambridge, she worked as a designer at Conran Associates and Crighton Ltd before becoming one of the UK’s first Design Managers, working client-side with Olympia and York atCanary Wharf. She now runs Colander Associates, a consultancy business working across the built environment that bridges the divide between clients and their consultants. 


Dame Vivien Duffield DBE, philanthropist and client - nominated by Stephen Hodder

Dame Vivien Duffield is the Chairman of the Clore Duffield Foundation, a UK grant-giving foundation which focuses on arts education, leadership training and supporting Jewish life. She is the founder of JW3, London’s new Jewish Community Centre in north west London which won an RIBA National Award in 2014 and was ‘midlisted’ for the RIBA Stirling Prize. Shewas awarded the CBE in 1989, the DBE in 2000 and in 2008 HRH The Prince of Wales presented her with one of the first Medals for Arts Philanthropy.


Kristin Feiress, architecture curator, writer and editor – nominated by Sir David Chipperfield

Kristin Feireiss is a curator, writer, and editor. Born in Berlin and educated in Frankfurt, Kristin’s work – especially through the Aedes Architecture Forum which she founded in 1980 (with HelgaRetzer 1984) and since 1994 has led in partnership with Hans-Jürgen Commerell, has had a profound and wide-reaching influence on the discourse surrounding contemporary architecture and urban design.


Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts – nominated by Eric Parry and Tony Chapman

Australian born and educated Kate Goodwin has an infectious enthusiasm for architecture. The Royal Academy, which she joined as Architecture Programme Co-ordinator in 2003, gave her the opportunity to promote her vision of architecture to a wider public. Architecture was key to the remit of the Royal Academy of Arts from its foundation in 1768 with a mission to ‘promote the arts of design in Britain through education and exhibition’. But only in Kate’s time at the RA has that public remit to explain architecture been properly fulfilled.



Charles Knevitt , journalist, author and former Director of the RIBA Trust – nominated by Paul Davis,  Jane Duncan, Elena Tsolakis

Charles Knevitt has been writing about architecture for more than 40 years: as architecture correspondent on the Sunday Telegraph and The Times; and is the author of more than a dozen books on the subject. As Director of the RIBA Trust, he managed the institute’s cultural assets – namely four million items in the Library and Collections – and delivered its public programme – lectures, exhibitions and awards. To mark the 175th anniversary of the RIBA in 2009, he organised a reception for architects hosted by the Prime Minister at Downing Street.


Peter and Anneliese Latz, landscape architects, Germany – nominated by Eric Parry & Louisa Hutton

Peter and Anneliese Latz’s major contribution to architecture lies in their understanding of the importance of the found; their work often revolves and evolves around the remnants of the past to make striking contemporary landscapes. They are best known for their emphasis on the reclamationand conversion of former industrialized landscapes.



Sasha Lubetkin – nominated by Rob Gregory, Jane Duncan, George Ferguson, John Allan and David Mellor

Ever since Berthold Lubetkin exploded on to the British architectural scene in 1932 the name has seta standard of expectation and achievement, first in the illustrious works of the man himself and thenin the activism and advocacy of his daughter Sasha. Four of her accomplishments epitomise this. All have been achieved collaboratively because that is the modest way she works.



Alison Nimmo CBE, FRICS, MRTPI, FICE, Chief Executive The Crown Estate – nominated by Stephen Hodder

Regeneration expert Alison Nimmo is a chartered surveyor and town planner. In 2011 she took over as Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, which manages £8bn of land and property including Regent Street and St James's in London, Windsor Great Park, as well as large areas of farmland and the sea bed around Britain's coasts. She previously spent five years with the Olympic Delivery Authority(ODA) where, as Director of Design and Regeneration, she was responsible for delivering the overall design and early delivery of many of the venues for the London 2012 Games.


Grayson Perry, artist – nominated by Jane Duncan

Grayson Perry is a very 21st century national treasure. The artist is known equally well for his ceramic pots and his cross-dressing. His ‘classical’ pots are decorated ‘graphically’ and there is a strong autobiographical element to all his work, in which images of Perry as Claire, his female alter-ego,often appear. In 2015, working with FAT Architecture and commissioned by Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture, Perry completed Julie’s House, a built autobiographical tribute to his latest creation.


Richard Steer, quantity surveyor and patron of architecture – nominated by Richard Brindley, Jane Duncan & Stephen Hodder

Richard Steer is a quantity surveyor and a keen supporter, sponsor and champion of the RIBA,architects and architecture and holds a significant position in the UK construction industry. Richard was appointed Chairman of Gleeds in 1999, and has overseen the expansion of this independent international cost consultants’ business into a global organisation with a turnover of over £100million and 56 offices around the world.


Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize and Dean of the IE School of Architecture, Madrid – nominated by John Tuomey, Tony Chapman & Louisa Hutton

Every architecture project needs a project architect, someone who will co-ordinate all the players to deliver a building that looks that little bit better than the design; just so an architecture prize needs someone who will take an existing award; clarify the goals, needs, and criteria; assist in framing the discussion, gather the relevant information, and facilitate a focused analysis and dialogue, leading to an informed decision by the jury. In Martha Thorne the Pritzker Prize has found the perfect director.


Heinz Wirz, publisher – nominated by Neil Gillespie

Heinz Wirz founded Quart Verlag in 1999. From the earliest publications the vision and intent hasbeen clear and unwavering. Heinz Wirz and his team have documented a broad view of contemporary architectural practice through a series of thematic publications from individual Swiss architects, both established and young, through to books on theory, writing, international architects,landscape, art and photography.


Royal gold medal 2016 films


In this first cut of his film about the 2016 Royal Gold Medallist, Tony Chapman interviews Zaha Hadid. She reflects on her training at the Architectural Association, about her early theoretical projects and her struggles to build, about her award-winning work and what being the first woman to win the Medal in her own right means to her.

A final cut will be available soon including further footage of her projects and an interview with her partner Patrik Schumacher.

Royal gold medal 2016 presentation

Dame Zaha Hadid CBE was presented with the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by RIBA President Jane Duncan on behalf of the Queen at a ceremony held at the RIBA in February 2016. The citation was read by one of the architects who nominated her, Professor Sir Peter Cook, a previous Royal Gold Medallist with Archigram in 2002. She was interviewed by John Wilson of the BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. 


royal gold medal 2016 lecture

On the occasion of her being presented with the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in February 2016, Zaha Hadid gave a brilliant lecture at the RIBA entitled ‘The Way Forward’. She discussed her philosophy, her disappointments and her triumphs. 

riba keynote address 2016 

As part of Royal Gold Medal Week 2016 Professor Sir Peter Cook, Royal Gold Medallist in 2002 with Archigram, gave a keynote address called ‘The Stuff of Dreams: a series of reveries back and forth between dreams, intentions and reality.’

riba honorary and international fellowships 2016

The 2016 Honorary Fellows who are honoured for their  ‘particular contributions to architecture in its broadest sense’ are: John Brooks, former Vice Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University; Caroline Cole, architectural consultant; Dame Vivien Duffield DBE, philanthropist; Kristin Feiress, architecture curator and writer; Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts; Charles Knevitt, writer and former Director of the RIBA Trust; Peter and Anneliese Latz, landscape architects, Germany; Sasha Lubetkin, former Director of the Bristol Architecture Centre; Alison Nimmo CBE, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate; Grayson Perry, artist; Richard Steer, quantity surveyor and patron of architecture; Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, and Dean of IE School of Architecture in Madrid; and Heinz Wirz, publisher, Switzerland.

The 2016 RIBA International Fellows who are honoured for their ‘demonstrable interest in the objectives of the Institute’ are: Kees Christiaanse, Netherlands; Mario Cucinella, Italy; Bjarke Ingels, Denmark; Rick Joy, USA; Brian Mackay-Lyons, Canada; Peter Märkli, Switzerland; Peter Stutchbury, Australia; and  Elias Torres + José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Spain.

riba masterclasses 2016

As part of Royal Gold Medal Week 2016 a series of new and existing International and Honorary RIBA Fellows were invited to give masterclasses with a theme of Architecture and...

Day 1
Yvonne Farrell, Grafton Architects - Architecture and Place: precedent and invention
Martha Thorne, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize and Dean of the IE School of Architecture, Madrid - Architecture and Awards
Bjarke Ingels of BIG - Architecture and Social Infrastructure: hacking public utilities to have positive social and environmental side effects.
Artist Grayson Perry – How to Suck Eggs (please note this talk is not available online for contractual reasons)

Day 2
Peter Wilson, Bolles and Wilson - Architecture and the Authority of the Sketch
Writer Charles Knevitt – On Giants' Shoulders: a comparison of the lives and works of Palladio and Le Corbusier
Australian architect Peter Stuchbury – Architecture: past no longer present, a critique of change in our historic environment
Kevin McCloud - Architecture and Television: a duffer’s guide to putting architecture
Jonathan Meades - (please note Jonathan Meades was unable to give his talk due to illness) 

Members can view the full footage of every masterclass featured in this video in the Members' Area and heading to Member Offers in the Member Services section.

riba Student Crits 2016

The student winners of the 2015 RIBA President’s Medals: Silver Medal winner Finn Wilkie of the Mackintosh School of Architecture; Bronze Medal winner Boon Yik Chung of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL; and the winner of the Dissertation Medal Marie Price of the University of Westminster presented their work to Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid. RIBA President Jane Duncan and judges RIBA Director of Education David Gloster and Peg Rawes of the Bartlett formed the rest of the crit panel.