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Breaking: Architect Vann Molyvann dies in Siem Reap at 90

Vann Molyvann in a scene from the documentary The Man Who Built Cambodia.
Vann Molyvann in a scene from the documentary The Man Who Built Cambodia. Photo supplied

Breaking: Architect Vann Molyvann dies in Siem Reap at 90

Renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann has died at the age of 90 in his home in Siem Reap.

Molyvann’s assistant, Choung Chhoeun, confirmed the architectural great passed away today at 9:45am.

Molyvann was most famous for his designs in the 1950s and 1960s, often referred to as Cambodia’s “golden era”, including iconic structures like the Independence Monument, the Olympic Stadium, the National Theatre and the fan-shaped Chaktomuk Conference Hall hugging the banks of the Tonle Bassac River.

Cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks drive around the Independence Monument at night.
Cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks drive around the Independence Monument, which was designed by Vann Molyvann. Alexander Crook

The recently demolished White Building was also built as part of his project to beautify the Tonle Bassac riverfront area, though he did not design it himself.

Molyvann was born in 1926 to poor parents. He studied in Phnom Penh before receiving a government grant to study in Paris in 1946.

He began studying law but found his true calling studying architecture at celebrated arts school L’Ecole des Beaux Arts.

He returned to Cambodia to spearhead the construction of a series of remarkable civic structures following independence from the French in 1953, as part of the New Khmer Movement under the patronage of King Norodom Sihanouk.

Molyvann’s family is preparing to hold his funeral this week.

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