Category Archives: Architecture

Zaha Hadid in Cambodia


zaha hadid elected for new sleuk rith institute in cambodia andrea chin

since 1995, the documentation center of cambodia (DC-Cam) has stood at the forefront of chronicling the brutality of the khmer rouge era. standing as an archive of nearly one million documents, the institution has built a reputation as a leader in the quest for memory and justice, with the goal of not only recording cambodia’s tragic history, but also helping locals recover.

in their efforts to maintain their objectives, the DC-Cam is establishing a permanent location called the ‘sleuk rith institute’ that will aim to be the leading center for genocide studies in asia–a place for the organization to continue its work compiling, analyzing and preserving information related to the pol pot era.

to achieve this vision, they have tapped zaha hadid as the leading architect for developing the plans for the institute’s major built components–a physical facility to house the DC-Cam’s programs. the site will be positioned on a piece of land that was donated to the ‘sleuk rith institute’ by the cambodian government in 2008. it will sit adjacent to a new public library and law faculty of the royal university of law and economics, close to the country’s capital, phnom penh so that it is easily accessible to local and international visitors.

the scheme for the small campus will be comprised of a number of interconnected buildings, formally drawing on cambodian aesthetics and the surrounding environment. on the exterior of the structures, there will be a memorial erected to honor the victims of the country’s tragedy. additional green space will take shape as a large garden with a small water pond, creating a tranquil environment for faculty, students and visitors, as well as a healing space for victims of torture and other abuse.

the groundbreaking for the zaha hadid-designed ‘sleuk rith institute’ is set for 2014, and is projected to be completed in 2016.

youk chhang’s (director of DC-Cam) vision is inspirational. his brief for the sleuk rith institute calls for beauty and an optimism for the future to heal and reconnect a country, with the documentation centre of cambodia being key to that process. working with youk chhang and the institute, we have brought together an excellent team of cambodian and international consultants that share this vision to carefully plan the sleuk rith institute. cambodia’s rich cultural heritage includes some of the world’s most exceptional temples that reflect the extraordinary architecture and technologies of their period. we look forward to working with youk chhang and his team to realize his vision in a contemporary building that remembers the past, but also reflects the unwavering belief and optimism for the future using education, understanding and inspiration to positively engage visitors.’ – zaha hadid

Support Our City Festival



Our City Festival is Cambodia’s first and only public festival to bring together creatives in Cambodian cities to focus on urbanism and its influence on contemporary culture.

After years of war and devastation, many Cambodian creatives are focusing on building the future. The cultural and creative fields are pioneering concepts to develop cities, empower citizens and participate in global innovation.  Without government or institutional support these cultural activities rely entirely on personal contributions and sponsorship.  Our City Festival 2014 needs financial support to fund projects by artists, architects and designers to imagine a better future.

Over 20 days we are asking for $8000 to support 20 projects.

We believe that creativity is essential to a diverse and vibrant city making it a better place to live.

Our City Festival (OCF) brings together artists, curators, architects, designers and the wider public to create, celebrate and look critically at the development of cities and communities in Cambodia. Through art and architecture themed events, exhibitions, conferences, performances, screenings, educational workshops and the active involvement of the youth and citizens, OCF fosters creation and discussion in a spirit of accessibility, learning and innovation for all.

(Public Square, Anida Yoeu Ali, OCF2011)

OCF strongly believes that change is led by the creative forces of a city and the festival aims to empower that process. It is a platform for Cambodian creatives and youth to celebrate their own voice, create their own vision, ignite their imaginations and engage the public.



For its 6th edition, OCF will span across the country to include three of the largest cities in Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap – from 16-23 of January 2014. An exhibition of creative projects will be showcased with pop up events and exhibitions happening around each city with our festival partners.

Current festival partners include: Amrita Performing Arts, Apexart, ChildSafe International, Epic Arts, Institut Francais, Meta House, UNESCO, UN Habitat, and more to be announced with the final program!

(Kaley, the giant crocodile, Pich Sopheap, 2012)


(Water, curse or blessing?!, AEDES, 2012)



Our City Festival is invested in youth and their participation in city-making.  In 2012, the festival launched the Youth Ambassadors Program offering opportunities to Cambodian students to get involved with projects, the festival and workshops that expand their experiences of the city and the impacts of the decisions they make on a daily basis.  We have a strong focus on accessibility and reach out to young populations to attend and participate in the festival.  Support youth and build the future!

(Youth Ambassadors and Princess Soma Norodom, 2012)



We need $8000 more to fund all the festival projects and have only 20 days to raise it! With $8000 we can support 20 projects in the festival.

We believe that everyone’s contribution will help make Our City Festival a truly accessible and dynamic festival of art, architecture and ideas. Financial support is very important and necessary. While the festival is founded on community and volunteer participation, there are also hard costs involved. Financial contributions will help cover the costs associated with art production, events and a small team across Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap.

Help us to make this happen!


Since launching in 2008, OCF has presented over 100 projects at 60 sites, and worked with 500 participants in Cambodia. It is initiated and powered by JavaArts, a non-profit cultural enterprise that started in 2000 in Phnom Penh, where it operates as a gallery, residency program and art space.

The Our City Festival 2014 team hail from around the world, with experience in arts, arts management and curating.

CITY CURATORS: City Curator: Phnom Penh, Sovan Philong; City Curator: Battambang, Mao Soviet; City Co-curators: Siem Reap, Oun Savann and Sasha Constable
PRODUCTION TEAM: Artistic Director and Founder, Dana Langlois; Marketing and Communications Manager, Daen Kelly; Partnership and Volunteer Manager, Olivia Wynne; Events Manager, Michelle O’Brien; Assistant Producers, Hang Sokunthea and Sok Kimheng

(Urban Lab interns, 2012)

Our City Festival is supported in part by the U.S. Embassy and ANZ Royal.


Also Find This Campaign On:

Our City Festival Phnom Penh Open Call



ពួកយើងសូមប្រកាសការបើកពាក្យបន្ទាន់សំរាប់អ្នកបង្កើតថ្មី គទានុរក្ស ដៃគូផ្នែកវប្បធម៌ ប្រសិតយុវជន និង អ្នកស្ម័គ្រចិត្ដចូលរួមសំរាប់មហោស្រពទីក្រុងយើងឆ្នាំ២០១៤។

ពួកយើងសូមប្រកាសជាផ្លូវការនូវការដាក់ពាក្យចូលរួមក្នុងមហោស្រពទីក្រុងយើងអំពីសិល្បៈ ស្ថាបត្យកម្ម និង បណ្តុំគំនិតដែលនឹងប្រារព្ធនៅទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញ បាត់ដំបង និង សៀមរាប ចាប់ពីថ្ញៃទី ១៦ ដល់ ថ្ញៃទី២៣ ក្នុងឆ្នាំ២០១៤។

ផ្សព្វផ្សាយនូវពត៌មាននេះ បណ្ដុំគំនិតឆ្នៃប្រឌិតរបស់អ្នកអោយហូរ និង ចូលរូមជាផ្នែកមួយរបស់មហោស្រពដោយគំរោងដែលបង្កើតការឆ្នៃប្រឌិត ប្រារព្ធសាទរ ល្បងគំនិត និង បង្ករភាពស្រស់ប៉ប្រិមសំរាប់ទីក្រុងរបស់អ្នក។


ពត៌មានលម្អិតអាចរកឃើញនូវក្នុងគេហទំព័រ ហើយសំរាប់ពត៌មានថ្មីអាចរកឃើញនូវក្នុងទំព័រFacebook របស់យើង។

Creative multi-city festival is pleased to launch the Open Call:

Ideas For Our City
We are calling and encouraging all Creatives, Curators, Partners, Youth Ambassador’s and Volunteers to apply for OCF 2014.

We would like to officially announce and release the Open Call for the Our City Festival of art, architecture and ideas that will be held in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap from 16th – 23rd of January 2014.

Spread the word, get your creative juices flowing and be apart of the festival through projects that innovate, celebrate, challenge and enrich your city.

We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us!

All details can be found at our website and updates can be seen on our Facebook.

Copyright © 2013 JavaArts, All rights reserved.
As a supporter of JavaArts we would like to keep you informed on the latest information about Our City Festival!

Pan Asia Mekong Exhibit University of Houston

Congratulations to the students of the Pan Asia Mekong Program (Instructors: Bill Truitt, Anne Haynes, Shelby Doyle) at the University of Houston on a great exhibit of their work from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

More photos.

Pan Asia Mekong

Pan Asia Mekong

Grand Plans for $80-Billion Capital City Fit for a Techo



A model displays part of the Hun Sen Commercial District for the proposed Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City. (Phoeung Sophoan)


A model shows the 600-meter-tall tower that is intended to house Prime Minister Hun Sen’s headquarters if the proposed Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City is constructed. (Phoeung Sophoan)

If Phoeung Sophoan has his way, Phnom Penh’s days as Cambodia’s capital city are numbered.

A secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Mr. Sophoan has big plans for a new 35,000-hectare capital city north of Phnom Penh called “Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City.”

Mr. Sophoan claims the project has the nod from Prime Minister Hun Sen, and all he needs now is $80 billion to build it.

“If we study the history of any country, after you have great progress and then stability, you must have a new city,” Mr. Sophoan explained at his office on Tuesday.

He said that Dragon City would provide Mr. Hun Sen the chance to place his mark on the country like only the nation’s Angkorian kings have done.

“In the 12th century, we had Suryavaraman II who built Ang­kor Wat,” Mr. Sophoan said.

“When we go to Angkor Thom, we know this is the city of Jayavarman VII, and when we go to the Bakheng Temple, we know this is the city of Yasovarman I.”

“Now we are in the Samdech Hun Sen period—when we see this city, we will know this is the project of Samdech Hun Sen, the Dragon City,” the secretary of state said.

The mammoth city—containing hundreds of buildings and high rises designed in a sort of eclectic neo-Angkorian meets sci-fi movie style—would be strictly zoned into residential, commercial, cultural, educational and tourist segments, which would be laid out to resemble the face of a dragon.

“When you fly into Cambodia, you will see the lights like the head of a Naga, and you will know you are in Cambodia,” Mr. Sophoan explained.

With the borders of the new capital beginning just beyond Phnom Penh’s northern fringes—where the paths of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers divert—Mr. Sophoan’s city would end northwest of Udong, the last capital before King Norodom moved his court to Phnom Penh almost 150 years ago.

At the center of Dragon City, as its defining feature, will stand a 600-meter tall building, which would be the world’s second tallest if it is ever built.

At the apex of that heavens-piercing tower, Mr. Sophoan explained, will be Mr. Hun Sen’s headquarters, which the secretary of state has tentatively titled “Samdech Akeak Moha Senabakte Techor Hun Sen’s Imperial Residential.”

“[The building] will be 600 meters tall, and this one will have the headquarters for Hun Sen to control all of our country and see all of our country,” Mr. Sophoan said, illustrating the range of the prime minister’s lofty view with a map with nine blue arrows pointing outward from Dragon City to the farther reaches of the country’s borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Mr. Sophoan, who was educated in architecture in France and returned to Cambodia in 1989, said that he began planning Dragon City in 2010 and pushed ahead after receiving a letter that year from Mr. Hun Sen expressing his approval of the mega-project tribute city.

“At first I did not work too hard because I worried that Samdech Hun Sen did not like it,” Mr. Sophoan said. “Now Hun Sen says that he is very interested in it and told me to find investors to fund the project.”

Mr. Sophoan claimed that plans for the city are progressing, and that a prominent construction firm based in Shanghai was in negotiations to help him secure the tens of billions of dollars he needs from Chi­na’s central bank to create his vision.

Information about the Shanghai-based company could not be found online Thursday, and Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of the prime minister’s Cabinet, said Wednesday that he had never heard of Mr. Sophoan’s Hun Sen Dragon City.

Mr. Sophoan’s project is not secret though.

He appeared on an English-language news segment called “This is Cambodia” on CTN—owned by Royal Group chairman Kith Meng —in March last year, in which the presenter described Dragon City as “part of the government’s response to an ever-increasing population and the country’s fast-paced economic growth.”

In the segment, Mr. Sophoan said that if China were to support the project, it would be “an architectural and urban planning revolution” and improve Cambodia’s image internationally.

Some are skeptical.

Mr. Sophoan’s plans for the new satellite city would be incredibly hard to realize for political as well as logistical reasons, said Simon Springer, an associate professor of geography at Canada’s University of Victoria who has studied Cambodia’s development over the past decade.

“It’s likening Hun Sen to one of the Angkorian God-kings…. It’s intensively problematic,” Mr. Springer said.

“The whole plan is beyond ambitious. Even where the funding could come from remains to be seen. Presumably, it would come from China—and China has numerous developments of entire cities like this that are al­most entirely vacant,” he said.

Dragon City also would not be the first overly ambitious satellite city to fail.

About a half-dozen similar de­velopments—all much smaller in scope—have been proposed over the past decade, with none having yet been completed and many scaling back after discovering a lack of demand.

One of the most high-profile sat­ellites, the $1 billion CamKo City, broke ground in 2005 but ran into problems in 2011 amid accusations that its main South Korean investor was illicitly using deposited funds for business deals overseas.

Another satellite city—CPP Sena­tor Ly Yong Phat’s 800-hectare Garden City—broke ground in April and is set to include a convention center, a national sports stadium, two ports, a golf course and an industrial park.

Surprisingly, the land Mr. Sophoan has demarcated for Hun Sen Dragon City actually encompasses Mr. Yong Phat’s land.

Stephen Higgins, who said in 2009 when he was CEO of ANZ Royal Bank that ANZ would not loan money to people looking to purchase property in satellite cities around Phnom Penh, said Thursday that Mr. Sophoan’s project was yet another pie-in-the-sky idea for a new city.

“Hun Sen is a very intelligent guy and I can’t imagine he’d be associated with something like this,” Mr. Higgins said. “It is not feasible. It is beyond a fantasy, and I don’t think it will get past the stage of just being this fantasy in someone’s mind.”

“There’s no property development in the world that is worth $80 billion,” he added.

“To get $80 billion when the country’s GDP [gross domestic product] is $12-13 billion…the idea is laughable.”

In spite of the nay saying and doubters, Mr. Sophoan is confident Hun Sen Dragon City will be a reality one day.

“It will take just 18 years to build if I have the $80 billion.”

Docomomo International

Cambodia needs a chapter…


In the last decades, the architectural heritage of the modern movement appeared more at risk than during any other period. This built inheritance glorifies the dynamic spirit of the Machine Age. At the end of the 1980s, many modern masterpieces had already been demolished or had changed beyond recognition. This was mainly due to the fact that many were not considered to be elements of heritage, that their original functions have substantially changed and that their technological innovations have not always endured long-term stresses.

Docomomo International’s missions are to:

· act as watchdog when important modern movement buildings anywhere are under threat

· exchange ideas relating to conservation technology, history and education

· foster interest in the ideas and heritage of the modern movement

· elicit responsibility towards this recent architectural inheritance.

Since its creation, Docomomo International has experienced a rapid growth, establishing itself as a major player not only in the realm of conservation, but also in the broader field of architectural culture. The pluralist, interdisciplinary nature of Docomomo International, due to its ability to bring together historians, architects, town-planners, landscape architects, conservationists, teachers, students and public officials, has been a strong asset.

At present, Docomomo International includes 59 chapters and more than 2,300 members, in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. In their variety of cultures and experiences, the chapters represent the true richness of Docomomo International.

Smart City: The Next Generation, Focus South-East Asia

Website AEDES: Symposium / Exhibition

Smart City Phnom Penh Workshop

Smart City Workshop Phnom Penh

City of Water





Three young Cambodia architects joined the symposium:

Muygech + Vannita cutting the ribbon.




Vann Molyvann Throws Weight Behind CNRP


By  – June 11, 2013

Vann Molyvann, the country’s pre-eminent architect who designed some of Phnom Penh’s most historic buildings in the post-independence period, has thrown his weight behind the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for the July 28 national election.

Mr. Molyvann, 86, a protege of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former Minister of Culture, said the newly established opposition party was the only hope for the future of Phnom Penh’s urban development.

“My conviction is that we cannot continue to develop Phnom Penh in the way that it has been done during the last two decades,” Mr. Molyvann said in an interview on Monday, adding that development in the city under the ruling CPP has been carried out without regulations, or proper planning and forethought.

“[E]verybody is taking land and selling it to foreigners and they are now creating huge skyscrapers without a plan,” he said, adding that projects beneficial to the city, such as the city’s new drainage system, had not actually been spearheaded by the Cambodian government, but by Japanese aid agency JICA.

“I can say that Phnom Penh has been saved by the Japanese cooperation JICA, and Angkor Wat in Siem Reap has been saved by Unesco with France and Japan,” he said.

Spokesman for the Council of Ministers Phay Siphan said he did not know why Mr. Molyvann had endorsed the opposition as he had previously worked with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for CNRP, said he welcomed Mr. Molyvann’s support and that it proved that a wide range of people from all walks of life are turning to the opposition. “[Mr. Molyvann’s endorsement] will boost the image of the CNRP,” Mr. Sovann said.