Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1950. After receiving a degree in mathematics from the American University of Beirut, she moved to London to study architecture, graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture. During the 1980s, she taught at prestigious institutions around the world like the Architectural Association, Harvard University, the Chicago School of Architecture, Columbia University, and many others. In 1980 she established her own London-based architectural design firm which today employs over 350 people. Her totally innovative approach to architecture is characterized by fragmented geometries and multiple points of prospective, a unique use of sharp shadow which harks back to an Islamic architectural tradition that skilfully and fluidly contrasts with the shapes of the modern urban landscape. Hadid has put her signature on numerous sensational projects worldwide. To name a few are: the MAXXI Contemporary Arts Centre in Rome; the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati; the BMW Central Building in Leipzig; the Phæno Science Centre in Wolfsburg; and opera house in Guangzhou, China. Winner of many international competitions, she can boast of being the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in its 26-year history.