Two exhibitions opened on September 30th at the French Cultural Center. The first exhibition, having participated and competed by 11 groups from two universities, including Norton University and Royal University of Fine Arts, displayed the scale models of imaginary homes. H.E. Vann Molyvann’s masterpieces have also been in the spotlight in the second exhibition.
The main purpose of holding the first exhibition has intended to encourage the future generation of Cambodian architects to continue the precious value of Khmer architecture. Contestants constructed imaginary habitats being able to minimize spaces and adapt environmental techniques truly inspired by Vann Molyvann’s architecture. The awards were given to the groups that constructed and presented well in accordance to the requiring rules of the competition. The first prize
winning group was given US$500 in cash and certifications.
The imaginary habitat for Phnom Penh includes 450 apartments spread among 3 buildings of 3 stories each, on stilts, with the ground floor to be used as parking space. The building ensemble situates in a park with many trees, facing to Tonle Sap on a piece of land measuring 250 multiply130 meters.
“We have invited students in architecture to think about and reconsider the habitat. They are all ready to play the game, and have taken up the challenge that the subject presents them with: imagining a living space where private and communal life would blend harmoniously; come up with a system of natural ventilation;
and find a good balance between comfort and environment,” foreman of the jury H.E. Phuoeng Sophean, addressed during his speech.
Rattanak is 22-year-old. He is one of the contestants from the Royal University of Fine Arts, said that his group decided to construct this scale model of architectural building because the population is increasing swiftly in our capital city, and mostly people choose to build individual flats or apartments which need a large space to put up. “In contrast, my project has brought out the concept of minimizing building spaces and environmental friendly.”
The notion of bringing this scale model of imaginary home up is to show the ideal structure on the shore of Tonle Sap, which specifically focuses on architectural values, such as the benefits of ventilated system and other related factors. The building uses natural air, and green technology being able to mitigate the greenhouse
gases to fight the global warming, Nouv Phearun, 22, from Royal University of Fine Arts, remarked.
“Phnom Penh has transformed dramatically during the last decades. Building sites have multiplied around the city, and every neighborhood and street is seeing new houses, apartment buildings and subdivisions. The all seem to be springing up overnight,”H.E. Phuoeng Sophean said.
The second exhibition has been put on view the eight buildings, each representing one building typology in which Vann Molyvann worked. Most of his renowned works were built in the postindependent era, under the leadership of Prince Norodom Sihanok. “We pay particular attention to how the buildings adapt modern materials and construction techniques to the culture, climate and built environment of Cambodia. We also focus on how the buildings make use of water, natural light and ventilation,” H.E. Vann Molyvann said.
“The materials we present here aim to inspire a new generation of architects, in Cambodia and abroad to create a contemporary architecture that responds to the demands of context, climate and culture.”He added that following its independence from France in 1953 to the outbreak of civil war in 1973, Cambodia experienced a renaissance in architecture and the arts. The country sought to change its image from that a colonial, agrarian state to one of a modern, independent country. An extensive building campaign was central to that effort. The buildings of the era have come to be known as “The New Khmer Architecture”.
Vann Molyvann is not just Cambodia’s most prominent architect; he is also a national icon. His work includes Independence Monument, the Olympic Stadium, Chaktomuk Theater and many other Phnom Penh’s landmarks. He was born in Kampot Province in1926. He graduated from the Lycee Sisowath in Phnom Penh in 1944, studied law in the Sorbonne in Paris for one year in 1946 before transferring to Ecole Nationale Syperieure des Beaux-Arts to study architecture,
from which he graduated in 1951.
These exhibitions were made possible by the support of the French Cultural Center, the Asian Cultural Council, the United States Embassy, numerous individual supporters and the dedicated efforts of many participants who denoted their time and expertise. (SEAW)
BY CHRIN SAMVISAL