Bloom Architecture uses handmade cement blocks to adorn Cambodian homes

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Bloom Architecture, a Cambodian studio known for its innovative designs, has created Small Houses, a collection of homes designed to provide a tranquil escape from the bustling streets of Phnom Penh. Located in a compact urban area in the historic part of the city, these homes are accessed through a narrow alleyway measuring just 60 centimeters. The architects were inspired by the neighboring houses and aimed to create a design that seamlessly blended with the surrounding village-like scale.

According to Bloom Architecture, the challenge was to establish their own creative identity while respecting the context in which the houses were located. The shape of the houses was influenced by traditional Cambodian wooden houses that were already present in the area. The architects aimed to create a haven for a community of designers and their families, as well as their pets.

The Small Houses feature facades made of grey and red cement blocks, giving them a unique and tactile appearance. The architects intended for these blocks to mimic the archaeological remains of what existed in the area before. They provide durability, privacy, and thermal protection to the homes while also allowing natural light and air to flow through.

Spread across four storeys, each house has living spaces on the ground floor and a mix of bedrooms and workspaces on the upper levels. The interiors feature a double-layered facade of cement blocks and glazing, ensuring ample light, air, and privacy. Irregular openings and bay windows on the upper levels offer panoramic views of the neighborhood.

The communal rooftop terrace is the highlight of Small Houses, providing residents with a shared outdoor space for relaxation and socializing. Lush greenery, a white canopy, and clay-tiled walls and floors create an inviting atmosphere. Laundry facilities on the rooftop also offer opportunities for residents to interact and build connections.

Bloom Architecture, founded in 2015 by Antoine Meinnel, has garnered attention for its unique and sustainable designs. The Small Houses project has been longlisted in the housing category of the prestigious Dezeen Awards for 2023. The studio’s recent completion of the Takhmau Boarding School, featuring a bamboo exterior, has also been recognized in the education project category of the Dezeen Awards.

Decorative block facades have become a popular trend in architecture, with notable examples including the Kontum House by Khuôn Studio in Vietnam and a student shower block in Shanghai by Wuyang Architecture.

The stunning photography of Small Houses was captured by Oki Hiroyuki, showcasing the beauty and innovative design of these unique homes.

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