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Snubbed Hadid picks up major honour

Published on 7 April 2012

She may have been ignored by one of the nation's most prestigious architectural awards, but Zaha Hadid, designer of Glasgow's Riverside Museum, has picked up another major prize.

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Ms Hadid, whose absence from the inaugural Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Awards sparked intense controversy this week, has been honoured for her "outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture".

The Iraqi-British architect and winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, has won the Jane Drew Prize for "breaking the glass ceiling" for women in architecture.

The award, organised by the Architects Journal, was a unanimous decision by its judges, included the leading architect Richard Rogers and Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie's Centres, and Doreen Lawrence, founder of the Stephen Lawrence Trust.

The judges said: "Hadid has broken the glass ceiling more than anyone and is practically a household name.

"Her achievement is remarkable."

The award encompasses Ms Hadid's careeer to date, including completed buildings such as the multimillion-pound Riverside Museum, which opened last year, her Maggie's Centre for cancer care in Kirkcaldy, the remarkable Guangzhou Opera House in China, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics and the award-winning Evelyn Grace Academy school in Brixton.

Ms Hadid was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize, and has won the Stirling Prize twice, consecutively, for the MAXXI museum in Rome in 2010, and Evelyn Grace Academy in London in 2011.

Her latest award is named after Dame Jane Drew, who died in 1996, a modernist architect and pioneering female architect. The win by Ms Hadid, comes after recently being voted as having "made the greatest contribution to the status of women in architecture" in a recent survey.

One insider at the prize said: "This makes the RIAS' awards decision even more unfathomable."

This week leading architects north and south of the Border expressed their disappointment and disbelief that the Riverside Museum was overlooked for one of the inaugural Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Awards. Because the building is not in line to win an RIAS award, it will not be eligible to win an accolade from the Royal Institute of British Architects, which cannot overturn or question the RIAS short list.

Ms Hadid, who is considered one of the world's most high-profile architects or "starchitects", expressed her disappoint- ment that the four-strong judging panel did not include her building on the 23-strong shortlist.

Her colleague, Jim Heverin, associate director at Zaha Hadid Architects, said he could only imagine the RIAS was "trying to make a point" by not including her building.

This week Neil Baxter, secretary of the RIAS, said: "The judges make their decisions based on the givens [documents supporting the entry]. On that basis they chose 23 schemes throughout Scotland."

Winners of the RIAS awards will be announced on June 20.

In a forward to the new RIAS Quarterly, RIAS council president Sholto Humphries, writes: "The process which brought us to this list was, as ever, careful, considered and based on the givens. With 71 varied submissions there are inevitably some which one or other of the judges will regret not short listing."

Glasgow Life, which runs Glasgow's museums and galleries, said: "It's obviously not for us to comment on the selection criteria for any awards."

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