Pritzker Architecture Prize won by female

Zaha Hadid, the brilliant Baghdad-born British creator whose dynamic designs have energized architectural thought and practice for more than two decades, has been selected to receive the 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Hadid, 53, is the first woman to be honored in the 26-year history of the award, which was created by the Hyatt Foundation to be architecture's equivalent of the Nobel Prizes. She will be presented with the $100,000 prize May 31 in St. Petersburg.

In praising Hadid's work, a statement from the seven-member Pritzker jury enthused that "each new project is more audacious than the last and the sources of her originality seem boundless." The statement also characterized Hadid's career as a "heroic struggle as she inexorably rose to the highest ranks of the profession," inform

There's more to Baghdad than ancient glory and present strife, the jury appears to be saying. The old bazaar can still send up shoots of cosmopolitan greatness, even if they must be transplanted elsewhere to be nurtured.

Of course we are supposed to separate an artist's talent from her personal circumstances, and I do not mean to suggest that Ms. Hadid's formal brilliance does not suffice to wow any group of people that has architecture on its mind. Yet I believe it's fair to say that Ms. Hadid has placed her talent at the service of a cosmopolitan ideal, report

According to In Europe, current projects include the main building for a BMW plant in Leipzig, and the MAXXI contemporary arts centre in Rome. Asian developments include a Guggenheim museum in Taiwan and an opera house in China.

One part of the world where she has yet to leave her mark is Baghdad. The last time she was there, 24 years ago, the city boasted examples of modernism.

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