Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Architectural sector enjoys rapid growth

Architectural sector enjoys rapid growth

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A-SmileArt Architecture & Construction director Thorng Linthong discusses the progress of Cambodia’s architectural sector. HIN PISEI

Architectural sector enjoys rapid growth

Along with the rapid growth of the Kingdom’s construction industry, use of architectural services has also dramatically increased.

With more than a decade of work experience, Thorng Linthong, the director of A-SmileArt Architecture & Construction – an architectural design and construction company – met with The Post’s Hin Pisei to discuss the progress of Cambodia’s architectural sector.

How is the current market for architecture services in Cambodia?

I can say architectural skills currently have a bigger market compared to about 10 years ago when Cambodians used to design homes and other things by themselves.

At the time, houses and other buildings were similarly designed, which is totally different from now. Previously, when owners of houses or buildings took delight in a style, they would ask a contractor to completely duplicate it, even if the locations and terrain conditions of the two projects were not the same.

I can say that currently the concept of do-it-yourself designing has changed tremendously. Even for the construction of small houses or shops, people also come to the architect to help design for them.

I would even dare say that a plan designed by a professional will make better use of a building’s or house’s space and reduce construction costs as well.

Along with the progress, what challenges does the market face?

There are many challenges. But two main issues currently facing the Kingdom are limited professional competence and price competitiveness.

In terms of human resource issues, over the last few years, I have noticed that some of the newly graduated Cambodian architects do not seem to have a remarkable ability to create new or attractive plan designs. Interesting, isn’t it? This flaw requires them to work harder to reinforce their capacities.

The cost of designing a plan depends on the size of the project and duration. Previously, homeowners and project owners believed that they would spend a lot of money if they sought services from an expert. But in fact, they can enjoy plenty of benefits from enlisting the services of a company.

A properly designed plan not only brings sufficient lighting and ventilation, but it also divides space for efficient use.

How much time is needed for each plan design? And how much does it cost?

Plan designs are based on the size of the project and the project owner’s demands. While prices vary accordingly – ranging from a value of $100 to millions of dollars.

What does the term ‘Khmer architect’ entail?

As experts, we must strive to preserve and conserve Khmer-based styles which are the heritage of our ancestors – by incorporating Khmer-style designs in our plans. Preservation and conservation of Khmer-style designs are essential ideas that Khmer architects should abide by, integrating them into any part of the building or into the whole building. It is also a source of Khmer pride.

Do you plan to expand your company?

With about 10 expert staff, we are planning to expand the company’s operations soon to obtain a bigger market share. Progress in the Kingdom’s construction industry will continue for a long time to come.

What do you have to say to those who want to study architecture?

I always say to those who are willing or are currently studying architecture that to succeed in learning and working, they must focus on the subjects of descriptive geometry and rapid sketching.

These two subjects can help those who study architecture to imagine the image, and in doing so, express new and varied ideas, avoiding copying others.

On the other hand, those of you who have newly entered the architectural field . . . please bring the skills you’ve learned and make an all-out effort to provide fitting ideas to customers to materialise their projects as radiant and as comfortable as possible.

In addition, architects should avoid going along with the customer’s idea too much. Since we are the experts, we can actually know and foresee the customer’s idea is sub-standard.

This could lead to the customer’s evaluation of the degree of knowledge of Khmer architects as a whole.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to