Sleuk Rith Architect Zaha Hadid Passes Away

Zaha Hadid, the renowned British-Iraqi architect who designed the Do­cumentation Center of Cambodia’s (DC-Cam) planned genocide museum, died of a heart attack at the age of 65 on Thursday, according to her company.

“It is with deep personal sadness, I must inform you that Dame Zaha Hadid…died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of Thursday,” read a letter from Zaha Hadid Architects to DC-Cam director Youk Chhang.

Youk Chhang, left, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, speaks with Zaha Hadid at her gallery in London in 2014. (Nhean Socheat/DC-Cam)
Youk Chhang, left, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, speaks with Zaha Hadid at her gallery in London in 2014. (Nhean Socheat/DC-Cam)

“Zaha had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital,” it said.

The first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, Zaha Hadid drew the design for DC-Cam’s Sleuk Rith Institute, which will house its Khmer Rouge-era archives and a genocide museum.

On Friday, Mr. Chhang spoke of his sadness at the architect’s passing but said he was hopeful that the institute would still be built.

“I thought that she…is the only one who exists in this world that has such an ability and imagination to transform a place like a killing field into a place of hope,” he said.

“I’m hoping there will be a strength to make the place more brilliant to honor her, rather than it being a step back and losing the momentum and hope.”

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