A team of five architecture students from two different universities in Phnom Penh won the rooftop cafeteria design competition organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Cambodia, with the results announced on International Youth Day (IYD).
Commemorated every year on August 12, the day celebrates the innovative potential of young people, with this year’s theme “Intergenerational Solidarity” highlighting the need for people of all ages to join forces to build a better world for all.
In June, FAO Cambodia invited architecture students from across the Kingdom to compete for the opportunity to design its new rooftop cafeteria, which includes a small commercial kitchen and kitchen garden as well functional indoor and outdoor eating and meeting spaces.
The students’ designs had to celebrate Cambodia, be green in design and construction, affordable and include multi-functional spaces. Fifteen students took one month to complete their designs, with five teams selected as finalists and asked to present their designs to a jury, according to FAO Cambodia’s August 17 press release.
The winning team got the opportunity to work with engineers and FAO to have their design constructed.
FAO Cambodia representative Rebekah Bell said the organisation was looking for design concepts that would enrich the workplace for all FAO employees and visitors, as well as promote Khmer food culture.
“The rooftop cafeteria will be a place where our lunches will be grown, cooked and eaten, solar energy generated and where we can hold events that promote the work of FAO and the terrific food culture of Cambodia,” she said.
With support from the Cambodian government, FAO is currently completing the construction of a new representation inside the compound of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which is expected to be finished at the end of September.
The rooftop cafeteria will complete the representation.
The quality of cafeteria designs presented to the jury by the five finalists was very high and all five teams were commended for the quality of their design work. The winning team, comprised of five students from the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) and Norton University, presented a design titled “Under the Roof, Within the Garden”, the press release said.
The winning team members were Pen Lisa, Ty Seakmy, Kruy Chou, Yos Davith and Mak Molirithiruth.
It said the spatial arrangement of the winning design sought to reflect a famer’s perspective and was inspired by the rice cultivation process. The rooftop space will include three functional areas.
“Before planting (preparing land)” is the first area, where a kitchen garden will produce some of the food for FAO employee and visitor meals.
The second area, “sowing and sprouting”, is the kitchen where food will be prepared and cooked. The third area, “harvesting and reaping the reward”, will be the cafeteria where employees and visitors will be able to enjoy their delicious meals and hold productive meetings.
All three zones will be covered by an innovative low-cost roof that reflects Cambodian design culture and materials, which will also house solar panels to offset the representation’s energy use.
The outer perimeter will be a green corridor that offers opportunities for open air seating, more food production and views of the cityscape.
Bell said the FAO team in Cambodia is very much looking forward to working with this dynamic group of young people on their innovative and modern design and during the construction of the FAO’s new rooftop cafeteria.
“We are excited to have celebrated the IYD 2022 by offering a team of innovative young architecture students their first design commission, which we very much hope will help launch their careers,” she said.