My project is situated in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and seeks to investigate a force of development that has emerged within the last ten years in the form of infilling wetlands. This has become a common practice due to the government’s desire to create dry land for real estate. My primary design objective was to establish a mode of organization known as urban aggregation. What distinguishes aggregation from a master plan is that the object of design is not a comprehensive plan but the single aggregate unit from which an overall plan emerges.
I formulated a series of drawings that convey the resulting effects of this infilling, and the potential for the creation of a new mode of aggregation for future urban growth. I focused my project on the controversial filling of Boeung Kak in Phnom Penh—the largest urban wetland in the city, which featured a lake surrounded by residential areas, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Its filling will create significant social and environmental impact, and is experiencing a moment of delay in its development.
After removing sand from parts of the site to bring back room for water, the displaced sand would be turned into earthworks inspired by surrounding iconic structures. These forms become the primary unit of aggregation that can be replicated in other sites with a similar fate. The forms create a spatial dialogue with adjacent power bodies, and can serve as a type of negotiation space where new activities emerge and reflect upon aspects of Cambodian culture.