Controversial starchitect Zaha Hadid just unveiled renderings for the Sleuk Rith Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, presenting a slight departure from her signature colorless blob futurism. Instead, the future home of some one million archival documents of the Khmer Rouge era will be five wooden towers inspired by ancient Cambodian temple sites.
The towers, to be built from locally-sourced timber, will be distinct spaces on the ground level. But the higher you go, the more the towers will "interlock" to encourage more interaction among different components of the institution—which in addition to the massive archive, will also include a media center, library, and graduate school, all dedicated to preventing human rights atrocities in the future.
In all it's an interesting project for Hadid, who's been embroiled in a string controversies of late. Her name has been dropped in connection to forced evictions in Azerbaijan (to make room for the construction of her Heydar Aliyev building), deplorable labor conditions in Qatar, and Olympic stadiums that are, in the words of petitioning architects, "overwhelmingly large for the context." That's not even mentioning the fact that she's got a lawsuit going against a critic. This is all to say that—who knows?—perhaps this project is an attempt to ameliorate her public image. Anyway, it looks pretty cool:
· Zaha Hadid Designs Five Wooden Towers to House Cambodian Genocide Institute [ArchDaily]
· All Zaha! posts [Curbed National]