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Zaha Hadid becomes first woman to scoop $100,000 Pritzker Prize

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Zaha Hadid has won the coveted Pritzker Prize - the first woman to achieve the honour. Iraqiborn Hadid will be the 26th Pritzker Laureate and the third from the UK. As well as being the first woman, at 53 she is also one of the youngest to receive the $100,000 award.

Hadid told the AJ this week that the win marked a greater acceptance of her work.

'The critical thing is that this work 10 or 15 years ago would have seemed impossible.

Things have shifted so much towards an acceptance of radically extreme work.'

However, she questioned whether it would help her to build in the UK. 'What has been interesting, ' she said, 'is that there has been so much press coverage all around the world and hardly any in the UK.

'I think it's a multitude of things. There's still a lot of resistance and reservation. If we had done one project here they could touch it. But because it's far away, it's not very immediate.'

She would love to win a project, particularly in London, she added, 'since it's getting exhausting, all the travelling'.

'We have been trying to get work here - we have done so many competitions recently, including the BBC and Exhibition Road. And I'm surprised that Rem Koolhaas doesn't have work here, ' she added, 'or Eisenman. They could really change the scene.'

One place where Hadid might find work in the future is her birthplace, Baghdad.

'Eventually I would love to go back but not until things have settled down. It's still too early to tell what type of project it might be. The very immediate requirement is for hospitals and housing. The substantial work will have to wait.'

And how will she be spending her £100,000? 'I really can't say. No particular project but it will go into the office.'

Hadid's fellow laureates include inaugural winner Philip Johnson and Danish Sydney Opera House designer J°rn Utzon, who clinched the title last year. James Stirling was the first Briton to receive the prize in 1981, followed by Norman Foster in 1999. Hadid will pick up her prize and her cheque at a ceremony in Russia in the spring.

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