Nguyen Xuan Truong, Dau Sy Nghia, Do Duc Thanh

Company / Organisation


Special Economic Zone, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, like many Southeast Asian cities, has to face many urban issues due to fast economic growth. industrialisation has led to a demographic boom – migrations from rural areas to the inner city. As a consequence, many urban residents live in slums or slum-like settlements. Bif families have to live in small housing units with very poor ventilation, inadequate daylight, and very limited access to clean water. Normally, the housing available to low-income workers is little more than a poorly constructed room without proper protection for rental. The crisis of workers’ housing is probably the biggest problem for the city, especially in its industrial parks, to deal with. The third phrase of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ) – a very important industrial park in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with 17,000 employees – is now under construction. Aiming to provide stable shelters for thousands of workers, this project calls for affordable housing design which will be applicable to at least 2,000 units. Apart from the low price policy (maximum at 16,000 UDSD/unit), this project should improve the living quality of the future residents and the surrounding communities. The challenge of this design is also to enhance local architectural tradition while providing supporting facilities (public spaces, services, etc,.) within the tropical environment. The overall vision is not only a sustainable housing but also a place in which these workers could live and bring up their families for a long time.

In the third as well as the last phrase of PPSEZ, the project takes many advantages in its location, between the Prek Thnout River and its humid zone, staying in contact with many local villages, offering easy access to the traffic system within PPSEZ. However, the design has reached much higher density than its neighbourhood (at least 2,000 units), then it will have many impacts related social issues and infrastructure. Therefore, we sought an alternative solution which will harmonise traditional habitat and high density in collective housing.

The answer is based on the following two main points: Firstly, at building scale, the project creates a modern and affordable housing are which promotes traditional lifestyle. Secondly, at city scale, it will maximise vibrant activities between social groups by means of public spaces, local services, etc., Sothe housing could bring more values over time. 

Besides, the workers do not seem to he a homogeneous group as usual, but as a micro-society with a particular characteristic. In this respect, we wish to propose in this project a set of diverse topologies of housing which will be able to meet the needs of such a complex community. Therefore, the project offers many housing typologies for different kinds of inhabitants: co-living housing for single workers and family housing for young couples and families.

Besides, the team intended to generate various types of public space (square, commercial streets, green parks, markets,etc.) which ensures an attractive urban environment for residents. By regarding urban spaces as a whole and complete structure, our proposals focus on the creation of harmonising dialogues among its components (architecture buildings, landscape design, public spaces,…). The attractiveness of this project may be seen in the various uses and material experiments of public spaces. The core values of this whole lively housing stays in the principle of sharing lifestyle: where individualism will be replaced be the relationship between individual and community.

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