Traditional wooden houses attract architectural tourists

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Bun Roeung house located in Wat Kor village of Battambang town was built in 1920. TOURISM MINISTRY

A VERNADOC Cambodia team of more than 30 local and international architects will co-host an international workshop on the vernacular architecture of traditional wooden houses at Wat Kor village in Battambang province, aiming to preserve the value of this heritage architectural style.

The event will kick off on November 2 through November 15. It will end with an exhibition of sketches of the traditional houses.

“The workshop will provide a platform for local volunteer architects to be trained in the vernacular architecture process of sketching the buildings, to serve as a reference for collective benefits in the community and also maintain older buildings,” it said in an October 28 press release.

Workshop organiser Mao Vutha said it would serve as a forum for students and new architects to undergo training in basic technical skills, while also gaining an understanding of the importance of preserving old buildings.

“In cooperation with the National University of Battambang and the provincial administration – along with our sponsors and donors – this programme will encourage community members to recognise the value of the heritage of these buildings and contribute to their preservation,” he said.

He added that the programme will also help raise the profile of the community, especially as the province has submitted Battambang town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list.

Vernadoc refers to a methodology of vernacular architecture study that emphasises the collecting of data and information on cultural historical sites by basic techniques to produce high-quality measured drawings. Vernadoc Cambodia organised its first camp at Wat Kampong Tralach Leu in Kampong Chhnang province in 2019, noted the press release.

Vutha said Wat Kor village is about 2km from Battambang town and regarded as a cultural village, with many beautiful older homes, some of which were 60 or 70 years old.

“Wat Kor village has an attractive atmosphere, with the relaxed way of life of people from the countryside,” he added.

He said about 40 of the traditional homes remained in the village, with several being used as tourist accommodation.

Sung Seurng, public affairs officer in Battambang town, said the town administration had earmarked the village for conservation in the town’s master plan in 2008, along with two other locations – the centre of old Battambang town and Kdol village.

“We refer to Wat Kor village as a cultural tourist area. Most of the houses in the village are traditional wooden houses,” he added.

He said the provincial administration has submitted all three of its conservation areas to UNESCO for consideration as world cultural heritage sites.