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Lives in the old lab

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
72-year-old Phoung Chea, a retired teacher, had lived in the former laboratory for 20 years .

One of Cambodian legendary architect Van Molyvann’s lesser known works is the original Pasteur Institute situated in a low-lying plain of Chroy Chongva peninsula. Having lost its original function for almost 40 years, it is now home to more than 100 families. But its future is still uncertain, due to the increasing demands of land for real estate developments. Taing Rinith presents a photo essay depicting the lives of those who live in the old lab.

“But I never want to leave this place. Yes, it is very old, almost a slum, but it is our home,” said one of the residents who grew up at the former Pasteur Institute.
The building was not supposed to be a housing structure so there was not even a bathroom, let alone a kitchen.
A real estate company is having its eyes set on the land since last year and is attempting to buy out residents.
Inside the rooms could be very different from what you see outside.
Van Molyvann used plastic tiles, which are very durable. He also made the building to have enough holes for the air from the river to go in.
Pages from newspaper and magazine on the walls of the room tell what topics the habitants are into.
The original Pasteur Institute is under threat as the result of the redevelopment and speculative land deals.
The spiral stairecase is the signature feature of Molyvann’s modernist style .


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