This three-storey residential property on the outskirts of Phnom Penh uses striking geometric shapes and an unusual structure to unpack the client’s wish for a safe and secure home that would be fit for multiple generations and lifestyles. Here, after considering the movement of guests versus residents, two separate structures have been designed to keep public and semi-public areas distinct from private quarters. Anchoring the two sections is a grand white spiral staircase enclosing a tree at its centre, while a ramp allows ease of access to those with reduced mobility.
The modern design is kept cube-like and functional to address security concerns. Options that could be considered include raising the building off the ground to make it more challenging to access; incorporating a single, central access point by the staircase that would connect to each section of the property; enclosing the first floor entirely; and enclosing the rooftop with a wooden screen.
The first floor and rooftop offer space for hosting while the entire second floor is kept private. Windows on the side of the building provide cross ventilation and are designed so that any potential construction on the adjacent plot will not block natural light or impact privacy. East-facing bedrooms and bathrooms ensure residents wake up to natural light and exposure to the hot sun is minimised, while the west-facing living room gets the best of the evening light and views.
A healthy amount of greenery is also a key highlight, giving the place a friendly and homey atmosphere. A double wall of vegetation creates a path for natural ventilation and minimises visibility into the property from the outside. Foliage also provides shading to the otherwise open rooftop, and spiky plants can provide additional security.
This ideal spot outside the city centre offers convenient transport links to the heart of Phnom Penh, the countryside and provinces as well as the wider region via the airport, which is only a few minutes away. The small alley off a main road also keeps the home well-connected while providing privacy and quiet from the city noise.