Dame Zaha Hadid Architects has become one of the most influential architects in the world, designing buildings such as the MAXXI museum in Rome and the Guangzhou Opera House in China, as well as the London aquatics centre, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy.
Dame Zaha Hadid Architects was named Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year in tribute to her business achievements and for being a female role model in traditional male-dominated sectors. The Award’s 20-strong judging panel comprising business leaders, including Anya Hindmarch winner in 2012, Jasmine Whitbread, CEO Save the Children, Duncan Bannatyne, Entrepreneur and BBC Dragon, Caroline Michel, CEO, Peters, Frasers and Dunlop as well as Sian Westerman, MD, Rothschild and other key industry experts said of her that: “she displays the same passion and determination that Madame Clicquot possessed over 200 years ago”
Dame Zaha said: “It’s hard to believe, but it’s still difficult for women to break the business barrier. Through perseverance and hard work, I’ve been able to do so, but it’s been a long struggle. When I started my career in architecture it was very much a male dominated industry, but in recent years I’ve seen a growing number of talented female architects join the profession and succeed.
“Half of all architecture students are women, yet women still make up less than a quarter of all qualified architects. This award shines a light on our achievements; and I hope it encourages more women to continue with the profession.”
The Iraqi-born architect pipped other finalists including Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive of Drax power company, and Thea Green, chief executive of cosmetics brand Nails Inc. The annual award is now in its 41st year and celebrates business women globally who share the same spirit and drive as Madame Clicquot, who developed her husband’s wine business after she was widowed at age 27. She was one of the first women to lead an all-male company and a pioneer in producing the first vintage wine in the Champagne region.