Phnom Penh-based firm Bloom Architecture has unveiled a beautiful renovation of a decaying building in Kampot, Cambodia. Ages ago, the building housed a family-run store, but the space had been abandoned for years. To preserve its historical significance in the riverside town, the architects focused on maintaining the building’s original features as much as possible while turning it into a home and restaurant. The result is 3,444 square feet of breezy interior spaces with an adaptive reuse strategy that blends the best of traditional Chinese shophouse typology with modern day comfort.
Located next to the city’s river, the building is a local landmark for the community. When the owners wanted to adapt the structure into a new family residence on the top floors and a restaurant on the ground floor, they tasked Bloom Architecture with the job of preserving the building’s historical character through adaptive reuse.
To bring the older building into the modern age, the firm focused its renovation plans on retaining the original features. Starting with the exterior, which is marked by two floors of large arched openings, the facade was put through a deep cleaning and fresh paint job with a natural exterior that blurs the boundaries between the old and the new. A new wooden roof overhang juts out over the top floor, providing shade for the upper balcony.
After years of decay, much of the interior was in pretty bad shape, so the firm went about gutting everything that was not salvageable. However, the team was able to reuse wooden panels from the original house; these panels were repurposed into custom furniture and windows.
The ground floor is open and airy with various seating options. Wooden tables and chairs of all shapes and sizes fill the dining area, which boasts double-height ceilings with exposed wooden beams. The original brick walls were lightly coated in white paint, letting the various red-hued tones shine through to offer contrast to the all-white columns and wooden door frames.
A large metal spiral staircase runs through a central courtyard all the way up from the restaurant to the private living quarters. This stairwell was essential to the design, as it allows natural light to reach the lower levels and aids in natural ventilation, cooling the interiors off during the searing summer months. At the top of the staircase is what the architects call “the nest” — an open-air terrace that provides stunning views of the mountainous landscape of Kampot.
Images via Bloom Architecture