Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, has picked up the Design Museum's Design of the Year Award 2014. The award, the seventh, marks a couple of firsts: it is the first architectural project to take the award and the first time a woman has won the accolade.
The award comes as little surprise to us. Indeed, we honoured Hadid's undulating arts complex ourselves over three years ago. The Centre won the 'Best Building Site' gong in our 2011 Design Awards. And of course we gave it a proper look over once work was complete.
Hadid's Centre beat off 70 other nominated designs to take the prize this year, also winning the 'architecture' category award.
Kim Colin of Industrial Facility says that 'after heated debate', she and her five fellow jurors were as one in giving Hadid the nod. 'The jury felt that for Zaha's office, this is a pinnacle moment in their portfolio, a sign of international maturity'. She added: 'This architecture should make us talk for years to come.' Fellow jury member Piers Gough said the building was as 'pure and sexy as Marilyn's blown skirt, without an ounce of argumentative modernism in its bones.'
For Hadid, the award will be a welcome distraction from the controversy over the scale of her office's design for Tokyo's new Olympic stadium and the labial billowing of the Al-Wakrah stadium in Qatar.