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Zaha bags AJ120 International Practice of the Year Award

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Zaha Hadid Architects has been awarded the AJ120 International Practice of the Year prize

Assessed on key AJ120 survey data such as the year-on-year percentage growth in architectural fees and the firm’s design quality, as judged by an expert panel, the contest for International Practice of the Year went right down to the wire.

In the running were three practices: Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Hopkins Architects.

The merits of each practice’s bid were contrasting. Foster’s impressed with the sheer scope of its machine (85 per cent of the architects’ fees came from overseas work), Hopkins for its sensitive, contextual approach and Hadid with its spectacular international growth.

In the end, Hadid won it by a nose thanks to the success of projects such as the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, which has welcomed 8.5 million visitors since it opened in March 2014, as well as winning landmark projects such as the Japan National Stadium.

Factor in a global order book of more than £60 million and Zaha Hadid Architects closed the show.

The shortlist in full

  • Archial NORR
  • Foster + Partners
  • HOK
  • Hopkins Architects Partnership
  • Jacobs
  • Jestico + Whiles
  • Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
  • Zaha Hadid Architects


  • Owen Luder, architect and former RIBA president
  • Jane Duncan, Jane Duncan Architects and RIBA president elect
  • Paul Finch, AJ editorial director
  • James McLachlan, AJ publications editor
  • Rory Olcayto, AJ editor
  • Barbara Weiss, director, Barbara Weiss Architects
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