Monday, July 12, 2010

Foreign language invaders

Vann Molyvann's designs were always inventive like these lecture rooms on legs at the IFL
The Institute of Foreign Languages, formerly the Teacher Training College, all under the umbrella of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, that can be found along the Russian Boulevard as you head out towards Pochentong Airport (5kms from the center of the city) was on the viewing schedule when I undertook my first architecture tour with KA Tours recently. I must admit I expected better access to the buildings than we actually got. They've been doing these tours for a while now but some parts of the university we visited remained off-limits and so restricted the value of the tour in my view. Designed by the doyen of Khmer architects of the New Khmer Architecture movement, Vann Molyvann in 1971, it includes in its lay-out, the use of moats and raised walkways, both for decorative and functional purposes. Natural light and air-flow were equally important factors in Vann Molyvann's designs, whilst the library at the complex is meant to represent a traditional palm leaf hat. The lecture halls at the IFL are particular favourites of mine. I always liken them in my mind's eye to the invaders from outer space in the War of the Worlds movie, but then I have an inventive imagination. It was interesting to get inside the lecture halls and see the play of light and ventilation on the classrooms and corridors of these iconic buildings. I'll post more photos from our university tour soon.
The space under the lecture halls provides shelter from the hot sun for the students
The lecture rooms at the Institute of Foreign Languages always remind me of invaders from outer space
The corridors between the lecture halls are illuminated by natural light
Inside one of the lecture rooms where the tables and benches are in ampitheatre style
The front of the corridors and lecture halls from the main IFL building with its wave-like frontage
These intriguing lecture rooms on bended legs were designed by Vann Molyvann in 1971
A close-up and final look at the lecture halls designed by Cambodia's favourite son, Vann Molyvann

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