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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Zaha Hadid's firm to push ahead on Sleuk Rith

Architect Zaha Hadid at the Maxxi Museum, which she designed, in Rome in 2009. AFP
Architect Zaha Hadid at the Maxxi Museum, which she designed, in Rome in 2009. AFP

Zaha Hadid's firm to push ahead on Sleuk Rith

The director of London’s Zaha Hadid Architects has offered assurances that the death of the firm’s founder will not affect construction of the $40 million Hadid-designed Sleuk Rith Institute in Phnom Penh.

Zaha Hadid died in Miami, Florida, on Thursday of a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis.

Later that day, the firm’s director, Patrik Schumacher, sent a letter to Documentation Center of Cambodia director Youk Chhang, who is driving development of the genocide centre.

“Despite this great loss, we are committed to the extension of Zaha’s wonderful portfolio of projects that is her legacy,” Schumacher wrote. “That is what Zaha would want.”

Chhang said yesterday: “Zaha Hadid’s death is a devastating loss to the world of arts and culture. Like her, I will transform this grief to hope and make the Sleuk Rith Institute more brilliant to honour her along with the million Cambodians who died under the Khmer Rouge. She has a place in our history now.”

Chhang told the Post that Hadid’s firm had also made a presentation to the government to design a 2050 master plan for Phnom Penh, however the municipality went with a plan developed previously by French city planners instead.

“Despite that, Zaha and her team [were] still working on the master plan at her own cost, and I am hoping to use it to convince the city governor and the government of Cambodia,” he said.

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Don Rennie's picture

Dear Will,

The passing of Zaha Hadid is unfortunate. May she rest in peace.

The magnificent design for the Sleuk Rith Institute should be examined by the NGO that hired Hadid's firm. What started out as a maximum $2 million project budget a few years ago has now mushroomed into a $40 million project for a 4,800 square meter cluster of buildings. The price breaks down into $8,300/m2 or $830/ft2. This is a considerably high construction price for a museum by Cambodian or other standards.

Did anyone do a quantity survey?

Has anyone heard of "value engineering" or "cost control?"

DR

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