That the Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid joined the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on a trade mission to China is testament to the interntional profile of one of the most influential architects working on the planet today.
Over the last 18 months, Zaha Hadid & Associates has made headlines internationally for its striking design of the London Aquatics Centre, followed by the new Sackler Gallery space (pictured below) which is part of London's Serpentine Art Gallery. The firm has also designed the stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
All three designs are characteristic of the firm's reputation for utilising fluid, innovative shapes and materials that are also in sympathy with their environmental context.
Other international projects the firm is working on include the Al Wakrah stadium which will be used in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Sleuk Rith Institute for documenting Cambodian history in Phnom Penh and the Opus Dubai, the first "ME by Melia" hotel in the Middle East.
The firm is also working on several projects in China and new buildings in south Korea and Singapore.
Recent awards for the firm include the "Best European Plant 2013" for its design of the BMW Leipzig factory and Best European museum for its design of the Riverside Museum, Glasgow.
In 2004, Hadid became the first female and first Muslim recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
In 2006, she was honoured with a retrospective spanning her entire work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; that year she also received an Honorary Degree from the American University of Beirut. Her architectural design firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs more than 350 people, and is headquartered in a Victorian former school building in Clerkenwell, London.