BBC Radio 3

We follow the world’s most famous female architect in her busiest year yet.

Presented by Jonathan Glancey, this profile of Zaha Hadid opens on the London Olympic site next to the daring curvaceous structure that is her Aquatics Centre. It has taken a long time for Zaha to be acknowledged and built in her adopted homeland. But now this Pritzker prizewinner had added the British RIBA Stirling Prize to her honours and her buildings are in huge demand across the world.

In the programme we consider the mature talent that Zaha has become as we attend the opening of MAXXI, the Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, the first unequivocally modern public building in the city for many years. We report from Wolfsburg in Germany where Zaha’s new Phaeno science centre astonished architectural critics, and from Glasgow where the new Transport Museum is a vital part of a regenerative programme for the Clyde, and we take a trip to the acclaimed new Evelyn Grace Academy in South London.

We find out something of what inspired Zaha to become an architect from a small but significant exhibition which Zaha has staged in Zurich. It celebrates the debt she owes to a group of revolutionary Russian artists who wanted to re-invent painting and architecture in the early years of the 20th century.

Produced by Susan Marling

Broadcast: December 2010