Cambodia’s newest luxury art & design hotel honours nation’s pioneering architect by exhibiting “New Khmer Architecture”

SIEM REAP – Treeline Urban Resort – based in the historical Cambodian city of Siem Reap – today announced that it will host a public exhibition honouring the nation’s most prolific architect, the late Vann Molyvann, showcasing his ground-breaking work, and its modern application for ecological architecture.

To be held from April 7th to June 30th, 2019, the exhibition – titled “Learning from the Past: Collection of Vann Molyvann Project” – will be set in the resort’s distinctive open-air gallery and will present eight buildings, each representing the typology the renowned architect has worked on throughout his illustrious career.

The exhibition’s theme will focus on “the specific elements of a really Khmer ecological architecture”. These are the words that Molyvann used to describe the need for buildings to adapt to modern materials and construction techniques – such as the effective utilisation of water, natural light and ventilation – while maintaining key elements of Cambodia’s unique culture, climate and building environment.

Often described as ‘the man who built Cambodia’, Molyvann was born and raised in the Southwestern Cambodian region of Kampot (today known as Sihanoukville), before earning a scholarship to study at the prestigious School of Fine Arts (École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts) in Paris. Upon completing his studies, he made Cambodian history by becoming the country’s first fully-qualified architect.

Soon after returning to his homeland, he was appointed to a series of governmental and academic postings. As part of Prince Norodom Sihanouk national development policy between 1955 and 1970, Molyvann was commissioned to design multiple large-scale public projects including the iconic Independence Monument, State Palace, National Theatre, National Sports Complex, in addition to state residences, ministries, housing developments and academic buildings.
“Modernity should not be inspired superficially by Western ideas that destroy all traces of the past,” said the late Molyvann about melding modern ideas with Cambodia’s rich socio-cultural heritage. “New buildings should bring tradition and heritage back to life.”

Hok Kang, the founder of Treeline Urban Resort, wanted to pay homage to the late Molyvann, and the platform that he gave to future Cambodian architects, ushering in a new era of contemporary design in the country.

“I wanted to commemorate the works of Cambodia’s greatest icon, the late Mr Vann Molyvann, and it is with great honour and gratitude that we will be hosting the Learning from the Past exhibition,” said Hok Kang. “Treeline Urban Resort is a beautiful sanctuary where art and design lovers can come together under one roof and celebrate talented Cambodian artists and designers.”

“As the guests navigate through the architectural models, drawings, photographs, information panels and maps, they will be transported to the Sangkum era as the spirit of Mr Vann Molyvann’s work comes alive,” added Hok Kang. “This will also be the last time the public and admirers of Molyvann will be able to see his architectural models before they are transported to the M+ museum in Hong Kong. It is a privilege to host such a fascinating exhibition, and I believe a fitting tribute to the life and work of the Cambodian maestro.”

About The Vann Molyvann Project

The Vann Molyvann Project, a collaboration of students and architects from Cambodia and around the world, was founded in 2009 by Canadian architect Bill Greaves to survey, draw, document, archive, publish and raise awareness of these extraordinary buildings that are today threatened by decay and development.

The Vann Molyvann Project has been exhibited at the French Cultural Center, Phnom Penh (2010), Phnom Penh International Airport (2011), SA SA BASSAC Gallery, Phnom Penh (2015), Asian Cultural Center Gwangju, Korea (2016), Taipei Biennial (2016), and at the US Embassy Phnom Penh (2018).

About Treeline Urban Resort  

Treeline Urban Resort, the gateway to new travel experiences in Cambodia

Treeline Urban Resort is a privately-owned, 48-room luxury Art & Design hotel on Siem Reap’s Riverside in Cambodia. Founded, designed and built by local architect Hok Kang, the Resort offers a one-of-a-kind home for guests travelling to Angkor Wat, UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest expressions of Cambodian creativity.

Masterfully crafted with leading Cambodian artists, Treeline’s curated experience includes dedicated spaces for a growing private collection of contemporary art. We have over fifty pieces of original Cambodian artwork from acclaimed artists such as Sopheap Pich and emerging artists like Sothea Thang and Nov Cheanick.

Treeline’s clean, functional style is combined with living artworks to reflect our deep-rooted veneration of nature, mindful attention to the smallest detail.

Here are some photos of the exhibition opening:

Photo credit: Mike Lee – Treeline Urban Resort
Photo credit: Mike Lee – Treeline Urban Resort
Photo credit: Mike Lee – Treeline Urban Resort
Photo credit: Mike Lee – Treeline Urban Resort

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