Kouk Khleang Youth Center is located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The youth center is operated by two Cambodian organizations Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS) and Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHRDA). Construction of the center was finished in January 2014. 

Komitu's design principles

In our work we aim at social, cultural and ecological sustainability. 

In the youth center we used low carbon materials, such as bamboo, compressed earth blocks and recycled plastic bottles. In addition, rainwater harvesting tanks were installed. 
          During the KKYC project we have promoted environmentally sustainable building practices and the use of ecological materials suitable for the Cambodian culture and climate through interaction with local students of architecture and engineering and organizing workshops and lectures. In addition to the building itself we wish to leave as much of the knowledge we gain during the project to the future professionals and future users of the building.
          In the design process we have followed principles of participatory design. The future users of the building and members of the surrounding community have actively participated in the design process through workshopsBy bringing the users into the project early on we aimed at creating a sense of ownership of the building and empowerment through participation. For us the workshops have given valuable information on the users' needs for the center, on local social conditions and their aesthetic preferences for the architecture. 

The Design process

The first design for the youth center was created during an Aalto University course in the spring 2010. After the course, we founded Komitu workgroup in order to realise the project in collaboration with CVS.  In December 2010 Elina, Maiju and Tuuli travelled to Phnom Penh in order to engage the future users in the design process. In the spring 2011 CVS found a site for the center in Kouk Khleang community. The community is managed by human rights organization KKKHRDA who decided to join CVS in the project. In July 2011 Elina and Inari returned to Phnom Penh to study the site in detail and to organize a workshop with the members from the surrounding community. During the fall 2011 the final design found its shape. First contractor was hired for the project in the beginning of 2012 and the construction started in February 2012. The contractor couldn't run the project trough and a new contractor Best Quality Contractor BQC was hired in July 2012. The finishing works were done during the summer 2013 and the center was finished in January 2014.

The organizations

CVS is a Cambodian non-governmental organization working with the youth in poor urban communities in Phnom Penh. Their mission is to provide opportunities for the youth to learn, get experience, and to unlock their potential in order to make positive contributions to the development of the Cambodian society. CVS organizes meetings for youth representatives from different communities once a month to discuss common issues and find ways to take action together.
          KKKHRDA is a human rights organization focusing on the rights of the Kampuchea Krom minority. These people are vietnamese immigrants with khmer background, to whom the organization offers legal aid as they often haven't afforded the official immigration process. In addition, KKKHRDA airs a radio program educating about human rights, manages the land around the site of the coming center and acts as the public representative for the surrounding poor urban community.

Kouk Khleang community, Phnom Penh

The youth center is located in Kouk Khleang community, which is on the western edge of Phnom Penh, close to the airport. The youth center was built on a site which is a former sewage pond next to a community meeting space and a radio station run by KKKHRDA. The youth center is approximately 300 m2 in size and the building site measures 15x30 meters.

Show KOMITU Youth Center in a map