Cambodian architecture and urbanism journal Lumhor is running a competition for Phnom Penh’s architecture students to develop a regeneration plan for Phnom Penh’s Post Office district in a bid to preserve the area’s heritage while developing its commercial potential.
Lumhor founder Pen Sereypagna said the plan was to present the winning entries to the government and private sector to implement.
“In the past, architecture competitions have focused only on how to design beautiful buildings,” Pagna said. “I’ve never seen a competition on urban intervention. So this competition is about urban intervention in a public space. I think urban design for public space is the need for Phnom Penh nowadays, and the competition can get students more involved in urban design.”
Winners will receive cash prizes of up to $1,000 and free private New Khmer Architecture Tours
Pagna said the Post Office district was chosen because it was one of the most significant sites in the city. “It has unique history, heritage buildings and characteristics. Around the site, there are many big business and micro businesses, poor people and rich people.”
He said the challenge was how to keep the heritage buildings and character of the site while also benefiting commercial interests – both of larger companies and small micro businesses – and avoiding evicting poorer residents.
The Post Office district was just the first area Lumhor wants to work on, Pagna added.
“We are planning to hold a series of competitions that focus on public space – one every year or two. The other sites I am looking at are Boeung Trabek, the area along the sewage system along Street 105 in Tuol Tom Poung, and the small alley in the block in Kandal Market.”
The deadline for registration for the competition is July 17. Details: lumhor.org.