Siem Reap Premier of ‘The Man Who Built Cambodia’

Dec 7, 2016 | 12th Edition (2016), 2016 Festival Programme, News & Happenings


Vann Molyvann – the man who built Cambodia. It’s quite a statement but Molyvann is the man behind some of Cambodia’s most significant buildings. Described as the most prolific architect of Cambodia’s New Khmer Architecture movement he designed some of the country’s most ambitious and recognised public projects.

About Vann Molyvann

Molyvann, originally from Kampot province, studied architecture in France on a scholarship he was awarded in 1946. He returned to Cambodia a decade later with the nation embracing its independence and vibrant with plans for the future. Prince Norodom Sihanouk appointed him as a state architect, paving the way for a prolific and outstanding career that has left his footprint on much of Phnom Penh and other regions.

He was also a town planner, making a significant contribution to the development of Cambodia’s cities. He oversaw the expansion of Phnom Penh and the establishment of Sihanoukville’s sea-port.

The Vann Molyvann project

Today, many of his buildings are facing demolition as a result of decay and development. Phnom Penh’s infamous White Building, just one that is under threat. But in 2008 two of his biggest achievements – the National Theater and the Council of Ministers – were demolished.

The architect fled Cambodia in 1971 after the military coup that ousted Sihanouk and sadly many of his designs have also been destroyed, leaving no trace of buildings after they are destroyed.

The Vann Molyvann Project was established to create a historical record of his buildings and a database of drawings; to raise the profile of his work and foster collaborations and education.

The Man Who Built Cambodia‘ – a film by Christopher Rompre

Tonight at 8pm, following the not-to-be-missed Children’s Day at the Festival Zone we are excited to present the Siem Reap premiere of the documentary, The Man Who Built Cambodia. This film tells Molyvann’s amazing story and highlights some of the iconic buildings he was responsible for.

Please join us at 8pm at the Festival Zone to watch this screening, including a Q&A with the film’s director Christopher Rompre and a very special performance by Cambodian singer Srey Pov. We look forward to seeing you there.



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