As the first sole woman to win the medal in its 167-year history (women have shared the prize with others before), Zaha Hadid said, "I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honor in her own right. 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.”
Baghdad-born Hadid, who started her now London-based practice in 1979, adds the Queen of England and Royal Institute of British Architects-given award to other notable prizes, including her 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize.
In Professor Sir Peter Cook's Royal Gold Medal citation, he notes that Hadid's "vociferous criticism of poor work or stupidity recalls the line-side comments of the tennis player, John McEnroe."
He also noted that "if Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance and then deftly folded them over and then took them out for a journey into space." Kudos.