12 December 2010

Last presentation in Phnom Penh

The last presentation of our second trip to Phnom Penh took place on Wednesday Dec 8th in a cultural center called Meta House. This open presentation was aimed for local architects, NGO-workers and others interested in our project. A delightful amount of people showed up for the presentation that was held in an outdoor auditorium and consisted of a presentation of the project combined with some information about bamboo.

The occasion turned out to be very fruitful. The audience became inspired enough to ask numerous questions and give us several useful comments. That is exactly what we were looking for, so thank you Meta House and thank you everyone who attended and contributed in our project.

08 December 2010

Presentation at Limkokwing University

On Monday, on Finland's independence day, KOMITU and CVS gave a lecture together at Limkokwing University to local students of architecture. Our presentation was a part of a lecture series called A Right to the City organized by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT). Earlier in the lecture series the students had had the opportunity to for example visit relocation sites and hear a lecture from a Thai architect Patama Roonrakwit. Due to our lecture, KOMITU was again mentioned in Lumhor magazine.

The goal of our presentation was to encourage the local students to consider socially sustainable and participatory architecture as a possibility for their future and to appreciate local materials such as bamboo. It seems that we achieved this goal; the students were enthusiastic about the possibilites of bamboo and also were very interested in our youth center design.

Our lecture consisted of three parts. First Mr Som Monorum gave a presentation about CVS and what the organization does. Then Elina presented the youth center design and the design process and lastly Maiju gave a lecture about bamboo as a building material and its use in modern architecture through examples. Both the youth center design and an info package about the bamboo presentation can be found on the right side of this blog.

05 December 2010

Yesterday we held a workshop for the local youth in Kork Kleang. It was very fruitful and interesting. Mr Som Monorum from CVS did a great job translating our presentations and the opinions of the youth from english to khmer and back. We started at 8:30 am after getting lost on the way and some technical challenges and finished around 12:00 pm with Elina and Mr Pen Somony from CVS giving the youngsters a certificate of participation that had an image of the facade printed on it.

The workshop was planned to be in two parts. First Maiju held a general presentation about modern bamboo architecture with plenty of pictures of interesting buildings. Then we gave the youngsters papers asking their opinion with pictures of the buildings, different roof types, local buildings and colors. The papers were mostly filled out in khmer and are now with CVS so that they can translate them.

After a snack of local fruit and finnish candy Elina presented the design process and our current design using mostly the scale model. Then the youth divided in three groups and were given the task to design their own plan of the youth center with cut out rooms from our plan. They were also asked to write five good things and five things that should be changed in our design. They had a big paper and free hands so the results were diverse and informative. Two groups wished for a big garden which just couldn't fit into our current plot of land - unfortunately. There was a lot of discussion about the roof shape and they told us that in Khmer culture a building is considered more beautiful if the roof shows to the street.

Many other things will also be changed with the design after hearing all these great comments and opinions. After the workshop we all had a delicious lunch together in a local home.

We had a great time and are very greatful for all the wonderful people who attended our workshop! Thank you Mr Son Chumchuon and Kork Kleang youth!

03 December 2010

Busy days in Phnom Penh

Even though we promised to update this blog daily, this is our first update from here. Hopefully we will have some more time the following days. Everything has gone extremely well. We have had very fruitful meetings with CVS on bothdays where we have gone through the design, talked about the site and talked about the future of the project which looks bright. The process of confirming a site here in Phnom Penh takes approximately 6 months so our schedule of building the youth center in December 2011 sounds reasonable. The scale model was an important tool in talking about the design.

Yesterday we also met with Nora Lindström from STT who has been a vital help to us with her amazing social network and endless knowledge about Phnom Penh social situation. Today we met architect Sara Hultén who has been working here for a long time. She also gave us some extremely useful contacts of engineers and contractors who we are going to meet next week. We also went to see Meta House - the venue of our next weeks presentation that has been advertised in lumhor.com, Meta House newsletter and STT:s contact network. Meta House seemed like a perfect place for our presentation and we're looking forward to it a lot.

Tomorrow we will have the workshop with the future users of the youth center so we have used all our spare time putting together materials for it and putting some finishing touches on the model. Tomorrow morning at 8am we will start the workshop in Kork Kleang community where we had the workshops also last spring.

Cambodia is as beautiful and intresting as ever and tomorrow after the workshop we will have more to tell!

01 December 2010

Komitu has landed in Phnom Penh!

Three Komitu members, Elina, Maiju and Tuuli have happily reached Phnom Penh. After some delays on the way we made it and will begin a busy week working with CVS to take the design forward. We are really excited and will be posting news on what is happening along the week!

Also see Komitu featured on Lumhor Magazine!