Architect Zaha Hadid was doubtless one of the stars of the past year, not only because of her projects, cited as examples of avant-garde architecture or of design for its own sake, detached from its context, but also because of the controversy surrounding the national stadium project in Tokyo. The building that is to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was designed by Zaha Hadid architects and its Japanese partner, Nikken Sekkei, winners of an international design contest held in 2012. In 2015 the Japanese government first revoked Zaha Hadid’s mandate and then, at the end of the year, announced that the appointment to build the new stadium had been reassigned to architect Kengo Kuma , whose project was judged less expensive and more in line with the country’s traditional culture.
The stadium project will never be built, but others were completed in 2015. In Italy, for example, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones is the last of a series of museums about mountaineering established by famous Italian mountain-climber Reinhold Messner. From here we go to the United Kingdom, to see the Investcorp Buildingfor the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College - Oxford University, and to Moscow, Russia, where the famous curved staircase of the Dominion Office Building is frequently featured in social media.
But 2015 was also a year of important professional acknowledgements for Hadid: after becoming the first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2004, Zaha Hadid has now become the first female architect to receive the Royal Gold Medal, the prestigious award presented by RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects.