[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]n honour of trailblazing Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away on Mar 31 at 65 years old, we revisit an interview she had with The Straits Times last year. Locally, the head of CapitaLand had this to say:

“We are deeply saddened by the demise of world-renowned architect Ms Zaha Hadid. CapitaLand has always been impressed by the creativity and boldness of her architectural designs, and has worked closely with Zaha Hadid Architects to create the landmark residential development d’Leedon in Singapore, which was completed just two years ago. We have lost a great architect of our time, but her legacy will endure for generations. Our deepest condolences to Zaha Hadid’s loved ones and colleagues.”

– Mr Wen Khai Meng, CEO of CapitaLand Singapore

[dropcap size=small]N[/dropcap]ew design technologies, advanced materials and construction methods and precision have helped create “world-class cultural and residential projects” in Singapore, Ms Zaha Hadid told The Straits Times in an interview. “There is a remarkable degree of enthusiasm, ambition and energy in Singapore that one finds in places where people have embraced the future with confidence – yet not forgotten the past.”

Iraqi-born Ms Hadid’s first high-rise residential project in Singapore, d’Leedon, was among the first few developments here to use Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology. This manages building processes by translating data on building structures into three-dimensional formats.

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Zaha Hadid’s first high-rise residential project in Singapore, d’Leedon.

The 1,715-unit project in King’s Road recently obtained its Temporary Occupation Permit. It was developed by a CapitaLand-led consortium that includes Hotel Properties Limited, a fund managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate, and Wachovia Development Corporation. The total cost of developing the District 10 project was about $3 billion, including the $1.3 billion price tag for the 840,049 sq ft site which was bought in a collective sale in 2007.

(Related: Zaha Hadid creates prefab pavilion.)

Ms Hadid said she enjoyed the construction stages most when she got to work closely with engineers and contractors to develop the best methods of construction. “One of the most exciting parts of each project is the initial organisation, which allows the drawing of a new diagram for the building. That’s really the beginning of every project – and a very key point.”

Though the requirements for residential projects vary around the world, she noted that it was important for her as an architect to understand local and cultural preferences such that all residents would be able to enjoy their homes to the fullest. “Having a comfortable home is such a crucial issue – not only in terms of a shelter and the basics – but also for well-being, for a better life,” she said. “There’s enough total wealth today that all people should have a good home and access to good schools and hospitals.”

(Related: Zaha Hadid elevates polycarbonate to utmost elegance in her Avia design for Slamp.)

Ms Hadid – the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize – was exploring the construction of “exoskeletons” on her projects. This gave the structure a form of “fluidity” – a trademark of her signature use of curves in buildings. She was also working on residential developments in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, China, Mexico and Australia.

Adapted from The Straits Times