Siem Reap, Hanchey house
‘Phteah Rong Dol’ style
Sino-Khmer timber merchant’s residence c.1915; renovated, 2006-2007
house on present site from 2007
original location: Koh Pi island, Kompong Cham province
present location: Siem Reap-Angkor, Siem Reap province
transported distance: approximately 315km
time to relocate & renovate: approximately 11 months (2006-2007)
transport details: house disassembled on a Mekong island, at Kompong Cham then carried by carpenters to be shipped on two small local boats using an old canal system to edge of the island.
all house elements loaded by carpenters onto two small ferries (one passenger, the other for cars); these carried all wood between the island and provincial centre of Kompong Cham. through the night, the ferries were off-loaded by villagers and by morning, the entire contents - some 30 tonnes, loaded onto a large truck with trailer.
this vehicle departed Kompong Cham that morning and drove directly to Siem Reap via Skun and Kompong Thom. the large truck was off-loaded in the vicinity of the land and all wood moved by a smaller vehicle and finally carried onto the site by the carpenters.
dimensions: 17m length x 9m width x 9.5m height
architectural details: ‘Phteah Rong Dol’ style, positioned on 24 hardwood columns, wedged and pinned using wooden fixtures, with an earthenware tiled roof. Sino-Khmer style with decorative carvings surrounding doorways, windows, interior panelling and archway, shutter windows secured with iron bars, wood slat timber floor, no fewer than five Cambodian hardwoods used throughout the house.
the house, despite regular and periodic flooding of the island, remains in excellent condition probably due to the extraordinary care in choosing the best woods available at the time of construction.
the space beneath traditional wooden houses where the columns rest (these comments refer to all three houses) is of great import to the structure above; it is often referred to as a ‘resting' area - in reality it can provide valuable under-cover additional working space, storage for household & agricultural implements (the traditional ox cart), or a place for household crafts such as weaving. additionally, the family may take midday meals in its shade and animals may be sheltered at night. It also may act as a security barrier - visitors must climb stairs to gain access to the house, in the past, a deterrent for wild animals and a foil for occasional flooding during the wet season. apart from all these practical reasons, the over-riding design concept is to provide a cushion of air that surrounds the dwelling; to create a breezeway for air to flow under the house providing natural ventilation.
furnished in keeping with original style; and accessed by two newly-constructed wooden staircases.
supervising architect: Hok Sokol
landscape design: Bill Grant: http://landscapecambodia.com/