Zaha Hadid Architects just unveiled plans for series of interwoven wooden buildings in Cambodia that sprout from the earth like a small forest. The slender wooden columns widen to form each building's façade, and a louvre system provides shading to the upper levels. The new Sleuk Rith Institute will house the records on the Khmer Rouge atrocities from the 1970s, the genocide also known as the Cambodian Holocaust.
The building features tapered wooden structures that range from three to eight levels. The volumes will house a huge archive, a museum, a library, a graduate school on genocide studies, a research center, a media center and an auditorium. The institute was conceived by human rights activist Youk Chhang, who himself was imprisoned under the regime at the age of 15. He now works as executive director of the organization.
Located in a 68,000-square-meter park, the buildings overlook pools that will protect them from seasonal flooding. The shades are specifically designed to suit each of the five volumes. Construction on the new institute is expected to start early next year.