Birthday Honours: Architect Zaha Hadid made dame

Zaha Hadid
Image caption In the UK she has also designed Glasgow's Riverside Museum and plans for the Cardiff Bay Opera House

London Olympics architect Zaha Hadid said her family will be thrilled when they hear she had been made a Dame in the Queen's birthday honours.

The Aquatics Centre designer said she would be nervous when she goes to Buckingham Palace to accept her honour, despite having already collected a CBE.

She grew up in Iraq before leaving at the age of 17 to study abroad.

Now 61, she set up a practice in London in 1980. Her buildings grace cities from Guangzhou, China, to Glasgow.

Dame Zaha studied at the American University of Beirut before attending the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

She had not been back to Iraq for 30 years but in 2010 was commissioned to design Baghdad's Central Bank - a prospect she described as "very emotional".

Her buildings include the BMW Central Building in Leipzig; the Bridge in Zaragoza, Spain; the Riverside Museum at Glasgow's Museum of Transport, and Guangzhou Opera House in China.

Dame Zaha has spoken previously about her parent's "unique" influence and their belief in education and said they would be pleased by the announcement.

Image caption Hadid says the centre was inspired by the 'fluid geometry of water in motion'.

She said: "I'm sure they would be thrilled. I know my brothers will be very excited when they hear the news.

"My father went to school in England in the 1930s, to the LSE, and everything he learned at the time is why I have always leaned towards the UK.

"London in 40 years has changed so much and it's because people come to study here and love it."

She added: "I've met the Queen on several occasions, in Istanbul and here in London, but of course this is quite a different matter and I'm sure one will be nervous."

Her practice won the Stirling Prize, awarded to the best new European building that has been built or designed in Britain, for the Maxxi contemporary art museum in Rome in 2010.

The following year she won the same prize for the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, south London, which was her first major project in the capital.

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