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Phnom Penh’s white building

Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Phnom Penh’s white building

The white building is one of Phnom Penh’s, the Cambodian capital city, most iconic building.

Built in the 1960’s, it was designed by the Khmer architect Vann Molyvann. This 350 meters long concrete structure spreading nearby the city center was part of a urban renewal program and was supposed to host civil servants and their families.

Deserted, as well as the rest of the city, between 1975 and 1979 when the Khmer Rouge took the power, it has been repopulated little by little by new inhabitants who had survived to the genocide.

There are 468 apartments in the White Building, accommodating around 2500 people. Spreading on 4 levels, its numerous exterior passageways offer an anarchic sighting, evolving with the inhabitants needs.

The average rental price is around USD 80 per month. A lot of low earnings families share those small flats that are less than 20 square meters. Most of them are migrants coming from Cambodia’s countryside, hoping to find a work and better living conditions in Phnom Penh.

The White Building suffers from a poor image among Phnom Penh’s inhabitants, regarding it as a no-go zone populated by prostitutes and drug addicts.

As the economic development of the city skyrocketed in the past years, luxurious shops started to surround the old dilapidated Building.

During the summer 2017, the Cambodian Land Management Ministry announced that the demolition would start on July 17th, in order to give place to a luxurious 21 levels building…

Phnom Penh’s white building

error: © 2018 Jérémie Lusseau