As I’ve stated before, our trip to Southeast Asia was a rather serendipitous one. I’ve been rather singularly focused in the past 18 months on making my way through the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet nations, and had been hoping to spend this Memorial Day in the Ukraine, but luck brought us to Southeast Asia instead. While planning our time in Southeast Asia, I struggled to find the happy medium between a total relaxing hedonistic vacation and finding meaningful cultural activities relevant to my interests.
Enter Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, was where we started our trip, and to say it impressed us would be an understatement. It’s safe to say that if I were to create a pie chart of subject matter on this blog, modernist architecture would make up the lion’s share of it. And despite knowing that Phnom Penh had been a jewel of French Indochina, I was not expecting it to be replete with amazing, funky, and downright jaw-dropping modern architecture.
Between World War 2 and the Cambodian Civil War, a man named Vann Molyvann founded the New Khmer style of architecture, and created the preeminent architecture style of the new Kingdom of Cambodia (1953-1970). His buildings blended Modernist style and materials with traditional Khmer architectural elements to create startlingly beautiful structures all over the nation. For more info on the style and his work, visit the Vann Molyvann Project site. Read more