Vann Molyvann is probably Cambodia's greatest architect of recent times, his fame
is legendary and almost every interesting Cambodian building of the 1960s is attributed
to him. In some cases, he is also credited with colonial examples: a Cambodian once
told me confidently that Vann Molyvann (born 1926) had designed the spectacular 1937
classic Psar Thmei.
I'm writing as a member of the ARK Research team to suggest a minor but important
correction to the caption (page 1, Post, December 16, 2005) for the photo of the
Cambodian Living Arts School teachers and students.
There are three distinct apartment buildings by three different architects constructed
at approximately the same time in what is known as the Bassac area: the very prominent
'Front du Bassac' or Athletes Village by Vann Molyvann (which now projects a drastically
altered long, white uninteresting facade as home to a private university, shops and
restaurants); the present apartments on Sothearos boulevard photographed to accompany
the Post article, designed by Lu Ban Hap (not as stated 'the Vann Molyvann-designed
complex'); and a third apartment block (originally built to house the National Bank
of Cambodia staff), designed by Henri Chatel. This block is at right angles to the
other two and is adjacent to the Sambok Chab community.
It appears that many Phnompenhois - both Cambodian and foreign residents alike, attribute
this complex to one architect, Vann Molyvann - when it more accurately should be
attributed to three.
Darryl Collins - Phnom Penh