Top 10 Architects: Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava, Tadao Ando, Cesar Pelli and more

Zaha Hadid
Text by Ayesha Khan

The first woman ever to win the coveted Pritzker Prize (architecture’s version of the Nobel Prize), Zaha Hadid is a force to reckon with in an industry dominated by men. Architecture was always a dream for the Iraqi-born virtuoso who asserts she knew she was certain of her future career path since she was 11 years old. Although she has garnered many titles typically reserved for men, including Commander of the British Empire and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Hadid still admits it is hard for a woman in her industry. “Working on an architecture project means perseverance,” she asserts. “But no matter how much progress has been made, there is still a world that, for women, is taboo.” Hadid’s educational endeavors took her from Beirut to London, and she later held several professorships at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Hadid’s pioneering deconstructive architectural style turned heads ever since she worked with the likes of Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Her unmistakable mark can be seen in the Chanel Mobile Art exhibit, the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, and the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain. Future projects include the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, which will be completed in 2012, and a performing arts center on Saadiyat Island, United Arab Emirates.