In 2011, Zaha Hadid finally claimed her legend. She won a Stirling Prize—Royal Institute of British Architects coveted prize for excellence—and designed one of the finest buildings for the London Olympics. She hasn't slackened her pace, and in 2012 proved (once and for all) that she is the true starchitect of our generation. The best buildings this year certainly weren't anonymous—a veritable who's who of contemporary genius is represented—but we'd be remiss in not celebrating Hadid once again for continually pushing our expectations of the built environment. 

She wasn't, of course, alone.

Selecting the best buildings completed in a calendar year isn't an easy task. Thousands of worthy structures rise from the ground every 12 months, and many will be remembered for centuries to come. To end 2012, we've simply selected the structures that caught our fancy and kept our attention. Included are museums and super towers; sporting venues and impermanent pavilions, all new icons for their respective homes. 

The 10 Best Buildings of 2012