With increased attention from tourists visiting Angkor Wat, the Angkor Hospital for Children was struggling to balance outreach with effective care and patient privacy. The Center for Friends Without a Border was conceived as a place to share the hospital’s work while inviting all people to connect across lines of distance, culture, and economic diff erence. To effectively mediate visitors’ experience of the hospital, the building would need to foster a sense of connection while discreetly shielding patients from observation.
The core message of the project is one of respect and global kinship. In this spirit, Friends Without A Border sees the health of Cambodia’s people and its environment as inherently interconnected. In response, the Center would articulate an ethic of ecological, cultural, and economic sustainability,
translated into the simplest, purest possible gesture of loving kindness. It would also serve to demonstrate the best ideas and technologies from all cultures in support of sustainable development for Cambodia.
|Rather than focus on Cambodia’s neediness, the building is inspired by the richness and achievements of Khmer culture, including the monumental architecture of the Angkor period. In a nation whose forebears managed the monsoon rains through ingenious feats of engineering, wise stewardship of water is a potent cultural legacy. Functionally and symbolically, water lies at the heart of the new building, where an inverted roof channels rainwater to a central pool, open to the sky through a square aperture. In the rainy season, the collected water flows to an underground reservoir, where it will be used for flushing toilets and cleaning the building.
Taking its square proportions from both sacred and contextual geometry, the building is organized into nine bays, each defi ninga diff erent programmatic function. To honor Izu’s founding intention, a gallery for exhibiting artwork is integral to the plan, and doubles as teaching space for large groups. Clean lines and extensive shading make the Center a cool, peaceful refuge from
the street, simultaneously screening the visitor’s gaze and opening it to the operations of the hospital. With each visitor, the hope is that the essential spirit of Friends Without A Border will ripple outward, replicating successful ideas and inspiring others to give generously of themselves.
Friends Center – Angkor Hospital for Children