Cultural Palimpsest: Making Past Present for TATE a new Cambodian Cultural Identity PROJECT SCOPE: To design a new arts center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a Marion In- stitute program called Cambodian Living Arts (CLA). The organization’s mission is to “support the revival of Cambodian traditional art forms and to inspire contemporary artistic expression.” They envision a future of Cambodia in which its Arts will be the “international signature” of the nation. I am compelled by the story of this organization and I am honored to participate in their mission. The charge for CLA, also my architectural endeavor, is about a renewed Khmer identity which celebrates the splendor of Cambodia’s artistic heri- tage which has presently been overshadowed by atrocities suffered in the past. The LIVING ARTS INCUBATOR is about architecture as a device for sociological and cultural renewal. The building should be a layered expression of tradition and modernity that starts to define a new Cambo- dian cultural identity. LIVING ARTS INCUBATORSITE
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA TATE THRIVING IN AN ORDERED-SOUTHEAST ASIAN-CHAOTIC KIND OF WAY. INFORMAL AND OPPORTUNISTIC TO WESTERN EYES. PAVED AREAS STREETSIDE OF STOREFRONTS BECOME POP-UP NOODLE BARS, MACHIN- ERY SHOPS, MOTORCYCLE WASHES, MOTO/AUTO PARKING, BECOME CELEBRATION GALA HALLS, MARKET PLACE, LOITERING LUNCH RETREAT, BECOME MOTORCYCLE EXPRESS LANES IN HIGH TRAFFIC. ALL AT ONCE, ALL TOGETHER. SO ARE THE INHABITED SPACES PROTECTED FROM THE STREET. LIVINGROOM-BEDROOM, CORRIDOR-MINI- MART, REHEARSAL SPACE – LIVING SPACE. MACHINES AND ROOMS, MATERIALS AND ENERGY ARE CYCLED, RECYCLED, REUSED, RECONFIGURED AND IRREVERENTLY AMENDED. CHINESE BUDDHIST TEMPLE BECOMES PAVILION SHELTER FOR 15 SQUATTER FAMILIES WHO HAVE PIECED TOGETHER A LIFE AND A LIVELIHOOD. STREETS ARE THE TRUE PUBLIC SPACES – MICROCOSMS REBUILDING COMMUNITIES AND ECONOMIES AF- TER THE HORRORS OF THE WAR AND GENOCIDE. AS WELL, THE FEW FORMAL PUBLIC SPACES – ALONG THE RIVERFRONT, THE MALL NEAR THE PALACE, THE STADIUM – BECOME INTENSELY ACTIVATED BEFORE AND AFTER THE WORK DAY BY THRONGS OF PEOPLE. MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN DO AEROBICS TO THE SUNSET OVER- LOOKING A STEPPED PRECIPICE AT THE STADIUM. ADOLESCENTS GATHER ROUND TO VOLLEY A FEATHERED SHUTTLECOCK WITH FANCY BACK-KICKS. OUT OF PLACE AFRICANS, DROPPED IN TO PLAY ON THE CAMBO- DIAN SOCCER TEAM, PRACTICE IN THE RED DIRT OF THE SHADOW OF THE STADIUM. FAMILIES HUDDLE ON SMALL MATS TO CHOW ON STREET MEAT IN THE WAFT OF RIVER BREEZES. NEW YORK TO ZOOM OUT, THE CITY IS BEING RECONFIGURED AT A LARGER SCALE BY EXTERNAL INVESTORS, USUALLY KOREAN, MAYBE CANADIAN. IGNORING THE INFRASTRUCTURAL STRESSES INHERENT WITH NEW DEVELOP- PHNOM PENH MENT THEY ARE EVEN FILLING IN THE NATURAL LAKES TO MAKE LAND FOR NEW LUXURY HIGHRISES. THE MANY LAKES, FEW OF WHICH REMAIN, HAVE BEEN DRAINAGE POINTS FOR THE HEAVY RAINS DURING THE WET SEASON. NEW AREAS THAT NEVER USED TO FLOOD ARE NOW DOING SO. HOW WILL THEY DEAL WITH THIS ECOLOGICAL DEMAND? THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE 60’S ARE EMBLEMATIC OF ONE OF PHNOM PENH’S MODERN GOLDEN AGES. PAR- IS-TRAINED ARCHITECT, VANN MOLYVANN, BUILT MORE THAN 100 BUILDINGS BETWEEN THE YEARS 1957 AND 1971. A TROPICAL TWIST ON INTERNATIONAL STYLE, THEY FEATURE ICONIC FORMS, POROUS FACADES POPULATION AREA FOR NATURAL VENTILATION AND NATURAL LIGHT. A HORRENDOUS CONTRAST ARE THE NEW MIRRORED Phnom Penh 2,010,000 13,877 sq mi BLUE-GLASS FACADES AND CHROME HANDRAILED GREEK IMITATIONS POPPING UP IN PARTS OF THE CITY. THEY LACK STYLE, TASTE AND SENSITIVITY TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND ARE IGNORANT OF CAMBODIA’S AR- CHITECTURAL HERITAGE. Albany 298,130 21.4 sq mi SADLY CAMBODIANS ARE EXPERIENCING A DISCONNECT WITH THEIR CULTURAL HERITAGE. PAST ATROCITIES New York City 8,391,881 305 sq mi HAVE VANDALIZED THEIR SOCIETY AND PSYCHE. THE YOUTH ARE LEFT TO PICK UP THE SCATTERED PIEC- ES. EASILY INFLUENCED AND/OR POORLY EDUCATED, THOSE WITH MONEY ARE BUILDING DISGUSTING AND Cambodia 14,805,358 69,900 sq mi GARISH HOT PINK MALIBU BEACH BARBIE HOMES. URBAN DEVELOPMENTS ARE INDICATIVE OF CURRENT TRENDS, AND IF CAMBODIANS ARE NOT SOON ENOUGH EDUCATED AND EMPOWERED BY THEIR ROOTS AND New York State 19,541,453 54,475 sq mi DEEPER IDENTITY, THEIR CULTURAL FOUNDATION, THEY WILL SOON BE SWEPT AWAY BEYOND RETREAT – THE RICHES OF THEIR CULTURE HIJACKED AND THEIR SOUTHEAST ASIAN BUDDHIST SWEETNESS DILUTED.SITE
HISTORY AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TATE STAGES OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT images from Phnom Penh Urban Development and Patrimony1890 1910 1937 1958 1968 19941372Lady Penh finds four 1866 Norodom I moves the 1870s French colonialists build 1920s Phnom Penh is known as 1960s The Golden Age of Phnom 1970s The population of the 1975 April 17, the city falls to 1979 The Vietnamese, a ltradi- 1980s A period of reconstruc- PRESENT Phnom Penh is a bustlingbronze and one stone capital of Cambodia to the village into a city. the “Pearl of Asia.” Penh. Art, cinema and city expands to absorb the Khmer Rouge. It is tional rival of Cambdians, tion begins. The city city of profitable informal-Buddha in the Mekong Phnom Penh, making it architecture flourish. refugees from the coun- immediately evacuated drive out the Khmer attracts foreign investors ity and resourcefulness.River. She erects Wat the permanent seat of trysides affected by the and a very dark period Rouge from the city. and aid. Yet, this generation’s lackPhnom. government. Vietnam War. By 1975 in Cambodia’s history of knowledge of their the population reaches 2 begins. roots is a dangerous million. handicap. Their city and culture is at threat of hijacking. Counter Clockwise from top left: Royal Palace Central Market Chaktomuk Theater Falling of Phnom Penh Unfinished highrise development HOW CAN CAMBODIA RECAPTURE AND Boeng Kak Lake being filled in BUILD UPON ITS RICH HERITAGE?
ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLIC EVENTS TATE CAMBODIAN LIVING ARTS externally rented rehearsal spaces performance at National Museum BOPHANA CENTRE 2 film screening areas, seating for 20 each ground floor exhibition resource center FRENCH CULTURAL CENTER gallery 1, 2500 SF NATIONAL MUSEUM (CLA) gallery 2, 1300 SF cinema, seating for 200 library cafe bookshop FRENCH CULTURAL CENTER classrooms JAVA ARTS cafe/gallery 2 levels, 1200 SF BOPHANA CENTRE commercial gallery 300 SF JAVA ARTS META HOUSE META HOUSE exhibition foyer, 40 SF ground flr gallery, 800 SF patio film screening, 600 SF cafe SOVANNA PHUM SOVANNA PHUM outdoor theater, 1200 SF seating for 50 1 S JANUARY 2011 S M T W R F S S 10 M T W R F S S M T W 20 R F S S M T W R F S 31 S M main arts organizations and venues of interest other arts related locations HOW CAN THIS NEW LIVING ARTS CENTERSITE COMPLIMENT AND REINFORCE EXISTING CULTURAL ENTITIES?
URBAN CATALYST IN AN EMERGING TATE CULTURAL DISTRICT 1 FRENCH CULTURAL CENTER gallery 1, 2500 SF gallery 2, 1300 SF cinema, seating for 200 library cafe bookshop The proposed site is located in a bud- classrooms ding cultural district that is already populated by cultural organizations. The French Cultural Center and Bo- phana Centre regularly screen ﬁlms and host lectures or art exhibition openings. If these entities including the Living Arts Incubator perform in CAMBODIA FILM COMISSION synchronicity, the area can develop into a cultural district encouraging BOPHANA CENTRE, AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVE more arts-related urban activity. The 2 film screening areas, seating for 20 each district can be a model for arts-driven ground floor exhibition uban development, a counterpoint to database resource center the new breed of culturally and eco- logically insensitive development pop- ping up around the city funded by ex- ternal investors. CINEMA & CULTURAL DIFFUSION DEPARTMENT LIVING ARTS INCUBATOR CAN ARTS BE A DRIVER FOR THESITE URBAN DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY?
CLA EXISTING FACILITIES TATE STUDIO CLA office 150 SF studio 225 SF recording room 150 SF REHEARSAL SPACE IN THE WHITE BUILDING studio 300 SF Instrument storage 100 SF Classes with percussive instruments Monday through Friday, mornings CLA MAIN OFFICES Reception 400 SF Meeting Room 200 SF Kitchen 300 SF Rehearsal Space 675 SF Admin Offices 2000 SF Rentable Offices Storage Lavatories THE MISSION of Cambodian Living Arts is to support the revival SCHOOL ON SOTHEAROS BLVD. of Cambodian traditional art forms and to inspire large classroom 1800 SF contemporary artistic epxression. dance rehearsal Sunday mornings and afternoons The organization envisons Cambodia in the year 2020 as a country experiencing a cultural renaissance so dynamic thatPROGRAM the arts have become Cambodia’s international signature. The LIVING ARTS INCUBATOR will support CLA along phases of development through to the realization of its vision. HOW CAN THE LIVING ARTS CENTER ACOMMODATE EXISTING AS WELL AS PROJECT PROGRAM OF CLA?
PROGRAM FOR THE LIVING ARTS INCUBATOR TATE BLACK BOX rehearsal and small performance theater CLA ADMIN open offices meeting room storage SERVICES rentable offices meeting rooms training facilities recording studio PUBLIC reception resource center library cafe communication shopPROGRAM HOW CAN THE PROGRAM FACILITATE THE MISSION OF CLA?