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Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Komitu Architects, bamboo, earth bricks, recycled plastic bottles, youth center, NGOs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finnish Cultural Fund, Art Council of Finland, Cambodian Volunteers for Society, Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights and Development Organization, sustainable architecture

Community workshops and input from local architecture students and professionals played an essential role in the design of the youth center, which celebrates both the local Cambodian culture and traditional building techniques. These community workshops, lectures, and site visits even inspired the local NGO UPDF to build a community center from bamboo and organize bamboo training workshops for a network of community builders throughout Cambodia.

Related: Colorful Sra Pou Vocational School is Hand Built Using Local Materials in Cambodia

The Phnom Penh youth center features a concrete frame for the main load bearing structure. That frame is filled with locally produced earth bricks; the carbon footprint of an earth brick is ten times smaller than conventional bricks per mass. Bamboo was used extensively throughout the project as supporting beams, columns, and as the main elements for the screens and well-ventilated terraces. The architects also developed an illustrated Khmer-language bamboo construction guide to help locals maintain the building and apply the bamboo building techniques to future projects. The building is elevated off the ground to prevent flooding and rainwater is harvested on site.

The youth center was initiated in 2010 with major funding assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finnish Cultural Fund and Art Council of Finland, and was completed in 2014.

+ Komitu Architects

Images via etenho