Cambodia: White building apartments  by helenhall

Cambodia: White building apartments

Our first full day in the capital brought lots of sights sounds and smells. We explored on foot (basic rule - think 'I AM a vehicle' and just join the mayhem, with eyes scanning all directions all of the time, otherwise you will never move) and realised that pavements in Cambodia are for anything but walking along.

Our day included our first temple visits, the Royal Palace, introduction to tuc tuc transport, delicious noodles made before our eyes, a dive into a dark and mysterious market, an unscheduled but fascinating observation of River Festival race rehearsals, and an evening drink at the Foreign Correspondent's Club. Consider this to be my filed report.

We came across these dwellings which we later learned are well known by the locals, as the 'white building' and something of an architectural feature. This rather surprised me and so I looked them up - to discover that the design was inspired by Le Corbusier.

"Designed by Cambodian architect Lu Ban Hap and Russian architect Vladimir Bodiansky, and inaugurated in 1963, the White Building comprised of 468 apartments, and was the first attempt to offer multi-story modern urban lifestyle to lower- and middle-class Cambodians"

"After forced evacuation during the 1975-79 regime, some of the former residents including survived artists returned to the neighbourhood and the community grew again as a community of artists. For many in Phnom Penh, the White Building is perceived as an irregular community, cloaked in stigma associated with poverty, drugs, sex work, petty crime, dangerous construction and poor sanitation. However, the White Building is one of the city's most vibrant communities, housing more than 2,500 residents, including classical dancers, master musicians, skilled craftspeople, cultural workers, civil servants, and street vendors."

There is a whole website dedicated to this building -

That building has certainly seen a lot of life and changes since construction Helen. Fascinating history.
November 27th, 2016  
Wow, this picture tells a story. Thanks for the link, so interesting.
November 27th, 2016  
November 28th, 2016  
wow, what an interesting photo. great shot
November 28th, 2016  
Great capture. Lots to look at!!
November 28th, 2016  
So glad to have you back. I loved reading the interesting story about the white building. Nice photo of urban life in Cambodia.
November 28th, 2016  
sounds like an exciting time. very interesting to read about the white building. looks a bit different now to 1963
November 28th, 2016  
How strange! I was thinking about you today! Thinking I hadn't seen you on here for a bit. But I've been a bit hit and miss you. Fascinating picture and interesting write up. Hope you're having a good time.
November 28th, 2016  
So interesting - what a difference between then and now! Love the image!
November 28th, 2016  
Very interesting
November 30th, 2016  
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