The White Building; The Fall of an Icon.

The White Building or Bodeng. This shot is a panorama from the roof, it was the first time I was in the building and I was helping with the sound on a short documentary. This was the end nearest to Aeon Mall, the end which housed predominantly artists, dancers and similarly bohemian folk. The other end it was explained to me housed a number of drug dealers and sex workers but I don’t know if that is actually true. Bodeng has been described as something of a slum and like most slums it has a thriving community with hair salons, shops and everything else which could be needed operating from the alleyway running along it’s length.

Phnom Penh is now to say goodbye to this iconic building as an agreement has been reached with all the residents to take compensation to move out, this in itself is controversial but that is not the subject of this article, if you want to read that then a quick google search will provide you with all the material you could need.

The White Building, originally known as the Municipal Apartments, is a large and prominent apartment building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, one of the major works of New Khmer Architecture. Designed as a 450-metre (1,480 ft) architectural composition on Samdach Sothearos Boulevard near the Bassac River, it was built in 1963 as a symbol of modernism in Cambodia, part of a large composition of civic buildings. Design precedents included Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse. Its architects were Lu Ban Hap, a Khmer, and Russian-French engineer Vladimir Bodiansky, with oversight by Cambodian state architect Vann Molyvann. The White Building was designed to house moderate-income tenants, mainly artists, while the nearby Grey Building was for more prosperous tenants. After years of neglect and deterioration since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the building is to be demolished in 2017.(Wikipeadia)

The building was known for it’s street art so here are a few of the images I grabbed while heading for the roof.

Now that the families are gone and the building is being pulled apart here are a few shots of it empty, we bid farewell to the Bodeng.

Lucien Grey

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