DESIGN TEAM: Atelier/D & Bre.
SITE: Tonle Sap, Cambodia
"Everything is linked, nothing is self-sufficient."
Everything is connected, linked. Everything is constantly in reaction to surrounding factors, everything works like an organism. This is our motto in finding a solution for the Tonle Sap Biosphere. We encapsulated all the problems in a general, flexible formula that can ripple different solutions according to its implementation. The solution had to be adapted to the main characteristics of the area such as water volume fluctuation between dry-rainy season, and the local Khmer cultural identity.
By shifting our attention to the past, we discovered that the Khmer civilization, in constructions such as the Angkor Wat, understood that their cities had to be built responsibly with respect towards the natural environment. Thus, the relationship between the plane geometry and water was a crucial factor in our design process. By working towards a cultural evolution, we can generate economic rebirth that is constantly linked to the fluctuation of water in dry-wet seasons. If this theory is applied the end result will create accessible work for the villagers, enhance local craftsmanship, will preserve the biosphere with locally implemented strategies that find solutions for agriculture and fish management while still creating a sustainable cohabitation between humans and animals.
The symbol or lighthouse of the intervention is a bamboo tower, inspired by local fishing baskets acting as a signal for those in need, a meeting and debate area for the villagers or a briefing site for the tourists. The tower is the only structure that is permanent, pivoting around its columns in response to the shifting water levels.
There is a time to be bold, but here, this is a time to be humble, sensitive to the voice of waters, discovering the architecture that the site itself seeks, bound to place, landscape, native country, man. Bringing together the elements an organic entity is formed, reacting as a body, the legacy of a great civilization lost in the silence, waters and winds of Cambodia.