A private villa towards the unassuming southern end of Phnom Penh, we wanted to create a safe home that could be a kind of hiding place for its residents. From the street the building is a grand black and white structure, opaque and strikingly geometric, with a large wall of ventilation blocks giving only a taste of the green behind it. Once through the gate, visitors are welcomed into a bright and serene inner garden. The garden forms the core of the land, yet is kept hidden from outside view because of the structure’s L shape, which provides security and privacy. A long row of sliding doors and windows brings light into the house and creates a gentle contrast against the green surroundings and stark white walls. This attention to detail and careful combination of simple materials – wood, glass and steel – gives the space an elegant, meditative feel. Besides a healthy amount of greenery, other climate conscious elements were also a major consideration for this project. Ventilation and glass blocks as well as the steel roof let natural light and air through while keeping temperatures down. The roof also acts as a shading device.