The White Building, or the Bodeng as it is commonly known, is a municipal apartment built in 1963 located in the heart of Phnom Penh. As a symbol of modernism in Cambodia, this building served as accommodation for low-income teachers, artists, and government officers. From 1975 to 1979, the White Building was abandoned but was re-occupied by former and new tenants after the victory over the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.
People living there do not like to tell others that they are residents of the White Building as outsiders only see the dark side of this building. In contrast, I felt it to be a home of harmony. When I first stepped into this building, I felt it had a peaceful and familial atmosphere. However, according to the government’s urbanisation plan, the White Building will soon be replaced by a 21-storey building. The demolition will have an emotional, economic and social impact on the people living there.
This is my attempt to record the history of the White Building, the youth, the artists going through their lives within a fading historical space that may soon be gone, but hopefully not forgotten.