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50 People Who Matter 2010 | 42. Zaha Hadid

Olympic starchitect.

The Baghdad-born architect and designer has pushed the possibilities of architecture and the horizons of architectural practice throughout her 33-year career.

From Abu Dhabi to Zaragoza, manifestations of her daring, fluid deconstructivism are an antidote to the ever-present boxy, austere steel and glass of her lesser contemporaries.

The world will watch Rebecca Adlington go for gold in 2012 under the breathtaking, wave-like roof of Hadid's Olympic Aquatics Centre.

Away from her practice, she designs furniture and other products of dazzling beauty, and is at the leading edge of architectural teaching and research.

Awe-inspiring cities of our future are in her head.


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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter