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Zaha's subsequent public lecture was a standing-room-only affair, staged in possibly the world's largest and most inaudible banqueting hall.

La Hadid herself swept in a queenly 20 minutes late to the flashbulb strobing of 2,000 digital cameras and mobile phones. This panting adulation only made her grumpy - 'I can't talk when you're flashing at me', she wailed.

The new Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, due to complete later this year, looked astounding however. Surely it's only a matter of time before she scoops the RIBA Gold Medal.

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