Over the next 12 days the AJ takes a look at the architects who have made the headlines this year. First up: Zaha Hadid
It has not been an easy 2015 for Hadid. The year was marred by trouble following the controversial scrapping of her practice’s competition-winning scheme for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
She stood her ground and said the practice’s designs could not be ‘improved upon unless the capacity is altered and a more competitive bidding situation is created.’ But her designs were scrapped and the competition relaunched. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma later replaced her on the job.
Hadid was backed up by both Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, who sat on the jury for the stadium contest. Foster told the AJ he was ‘appalled by the sequence of events that have since unfolded on the project’.
September saw Hadid recognised with the Royal Gold Medal, becoming the first woman architect to pick up the award in her own right. But even this win wasn’t entirely the high point it should have been. In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the day her medal win was announced she was grilled about the Tokyo Stadium project and, inaccurately, about alleged deaths of construction workers on her al-Wakrah stadium in Qatar. There have been no such fatalities on the project and the BBC later apologised.
But it wasn’t all downbeat. The 65-year-old’s practice is booming. This year it saw a huge 26 per cent increase in revenue, with profits rising to £4.6 million. It also saw off competition from Foster + Partners and Hopkins Architects to be crowned AJ120 International Practice of the Year 2015.
Schemes completed by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2015