Phnom Penh-based Atelier COLE collaborated with the local Tmat Boey community to develop a design/build eco-lodge prototype to help save wildlife in Cambodia’s Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Made from natural materials such as earth and bamboo, the eco-lodge incorporates recycled materials like the recycled plastic bottles used for a staircase. The design/build prototype is part of an award-winning eco-tourism project that aims to turn local farmers into wildlife custodians, provide income to the community, and protect the environment.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Sam Veasna Center (SVC) established the eco-tourism project. In conjunction with Building Trust International, these organizations commissioned Atelier COLE in the eco-lodge design. The area near the Tmat Boey rural village was selected as the eco-lodge site because of its proximity to the nesting grounds of two of the world’s rarest birds: the giant ibis and its cousin, the white-shouldered ibis. The locals were incentivized to protect the bird habitat through community contributions—visitors provide a conservation contribution to the community every time an ibis is spotted on a tour.
Designed as a nod to northern Cambodian architecture, the elevated eco-lodge is topped with an overhanging split roof to promote natural ventilation. Adobe and lime plaster used on the external walls also naturally cool the building. The community builders constructed the frame with locally sourced bamboo and timber.