Soksabai ResortCambodia has been experiencing a re-birth following the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970’s and subsequent international isolation. It has become a tourist destination thanks to its social interest and rich architectural legacy of the 11th and 12th Century when the country was at the height of its influence over the region. Soksabai Resort is located in Siem Reap – Gateway the the Angkor temples and ruins. The resort is a mix of 48 apartments and 53 room boutique hotel accommodation to satisfy a clientel of tourists and ex-pat Cambodians who will return for longer periods. The design takes on a duality: Physically the buildings respond to dwelling in the tropics – Deep shelter from the sun; exploitation of the voracious landscape potential; the cooling respite of water and use of local construction materials and techniques. The experience is of ‘Buildings in the landscape’ – a demarcation of human intervention trying to hold back nature. In addition to creating an enduring building, this project endeavours to forge relationships with the local Siem Reap community by encouraging and sustaining local craft and culture. This will offer visitors a deeper insight into the Cambodian culture than a standard hotel experience. Contrary to modern Western construction techniques, to build in Cambodia is to celebrate the handmade – Skilled local craftspeople will be utilised and have an ongoing relationship with the Resort. Their work and techniques will be recorded/utilised as artwork in the hotel, publications , on-site demonstrations and workshops throughout the life of the hotel.
Kieron Gait, Stephen Leah