Sep 09 2012

Phnom Penh corners

Published by at 6:23 am under Sightseeing & activities


There’s something about corners in Phnom Penh. I’m prompted to make this post as one of my favourite corner buildings has disappeared. It was slowly crumbling, its tower drooping, beautifully evocative and the starting point for many imaginations, but now it’s gone.

An all time favourite

An all-time favourite.

I want to encourage you to walk around Phnom Penh with your eyes wide open — perhaps one on the pavement ahead of you is wise, but please raise your view to the spectacular, the odd and the beautifully decrepit. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Phnom Penh’s architecture is so varied, there’s bound to be something that appeals.

Beautiful and practical sun protection

Beautiful and practical sun protection.

It doesn’t take long to detect signs of the colonial Phnom Penh, but often tucked behind an enormous beer advert or home ‘improvements’. Just around the corner from this well preserved example is a rather hideous plastic Eiffel Tower shop sign, almost obscuring those lovely diagonals:

Zig zag extravagance

Zig zag extravagance.

The climate isn’t always kind to buildings and materials, but damp and erosion can make for wonderful photos:

That's you on the corner, that's you in the spotlight

That’s you on the corner, that’s you in the spotlight.

No corner collection would be complete without something from the When Planning Goes Bad school of architecture:

Drugs are bad, OK?

Drugs are bad, OK?

These rather wonderful examples were all discovered in a small area of Phnom Penh between Street 51, the Royal Palace and Phsar Chas. They make my mood rise a little every time I see them. If you’re an architecture lover, my advice is: Gather ye corners while ye may, Phnom Penh is swiftly changing.

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