The Lung of Phnom Penh
The Lung of Phnom Penh” is sited at one of the urban lakes in the capital of Cambodia. It has recently been transformed into a desert. In 2007 Shukaku Incl. bought the Boeung Kak lake from the government and filled it with sand – forcing 4000 families living around the lake to abandon their homes. The project proposes an alternative setting for the displaced communities once living around the lake. With pressure from the World Bank they are today given 12% of the lakes area back. Set amid modern development of new skyscrapers, they would have to adapt to a new way of living. If you have nothing left but air, can you use it for your advantage – and build with it?
Through the drawings Maya explores the floating experience of living in the sky over future Phnom Penh. She was curious to investigate the spaces under the floating balloons, and imagine how the previous residents of Boeung Kak Lake would inhabit them. The light bamboo structures hang from the inflated ones, providing fragile bridges and platforms where people settle, grow their plants or open up small shops in the sky along the main paths. On the other hand, the living units hang from the hot air balloons, while the plants would grow from bamboo structures below. Birds build their nests next to the people, and workers constantly run back and forth tightening wires, fixing holes and keeping the “air machine” going. The floating “Lung of Phnom Penh” is a retreat for the poor once being told to give up their homes, livelihood and their city to “the modern development of the future”. But no skyscraper can build higher than the flying ones… With time a city of air develops above the capital itself, providing shelter for the previous residents of Boeung Kak Lake, and later also other refugees. The Cambodian, rural culture is hanging by a thread, in the sky… but it exists.
Maya found initial inspiration through Lebius Woods’s drawings and her passion for Oil Painting which she developed in Nicaragua in 2008. These influences are particularly evident within the proposal section.
Maya is currently enrolled in her third year at the AA School of Architecture in Intermediate 3.