folding concrete:

architectural lab, phnom penh

october – december 2019

Folding Concrete Lab. Photo: Pen Sereypagna

The Architectural Lab is a two-month research project focusing on archiving modernist architecture in Phnom Penh, documenting Cambodia’s modernist architectural heritage online.

The lab is run by Sereypagna Pen, an architect, independent researcher, and the director of the Vann Molyvann Project. Located in a room of the exhibition space hosting Folding Concrete, the lab is directly connected to the exhibition and serves as a public architecture and research studio, designed to engage with students, architects, researchers, and exhibition visitors. The lab aims to produce a number of materials including architectural drawings, photographs, video interviews, and written documents, which will be used to create an online resource hub on the website of the Vann Molyvann Project, www.vannmolyvannproject.org.

Seven architecture students and a technologist work together at the lab. Drawings and information panels document the processes of surveying buildings and creating a public database of plans and stories. Members of the lab are: Mao Sovannchandy, Prey Molinda, Sokun Kouchma Horn, Pen Voneat, Kimsour Houn, Kuoch Huy, and Seng Chanraksmey.

The documented buildings include public buildings, such as the former National School of Electrics by architect Mam Sophana, the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, as well as a number of villas on government property, which are not open to the public.