Bioclimatic Architecture in Cambodia



Nowadays, buildings are the biggest consumers of energy. Architects and urban planners are increasingly urged to reduce energy consumption through many innovative ways – and Bio-climatic Architecture has come up as one of the possible solutions to such challenge.

Bioclimatic architecture takes into account the climate and environmental conditions to favor thermal comfort inside of a building. This type of architecture seeks perfect cohesion between design and natural elements such as sun, wind, rain and vegetation, leading us to an optimization of resources.

Bioclimatic architecture refers to the design of buildings and spaces based on local climate, aimed at providing thermal and visual comfort, making use of solar energy and other environmental sources for heating, cooling and lighting the buildings.

There are some principles for bioclimatic architecture :

  • The consideration of the weather, hydrography and ecosystems of the environment in which buildings are built for maximum performance with the least impact.
  • Heat protection of the buildings in winter as well as in summer, using adequate insulation and air tightness of the buildings and its openings such as solar heating systems
  • Protection of the buildings from the summer sun, primarily by shading but also by the appropriate treatment of the building envelope
  • Improvement adjustment of environmental conditions so that their inhabitants find them comfortable and pleasant
  • Ensuring insulation combined with solar control for daylighting
  • Improvement of the microclimate around buildings through the bioclimatic design of exterior spaces and in general of the built environment adhering to all of the above principles

Cambodia and Bioclimatic Architecture

In Cambodia, the traditional architecture is in sync with Khmer architecture and more precisely to the iconic constructions of Angkor temples during the growth and peak of Khmer Empire. Most temples were built in eastern orientation – a sort of glorification of the rising sun, could be considered as manifestation of the sun cult so favored  in ancient civilizations. They use either in sandstone or in brick, often combined in a greater or lesser proportion with laterite, tiles and timbers.

The ornamentation is the triumph of Khmer art, in which the architecture, as people have seen, is the realization of a ritual. Far from distracting the attention from the collective composition or from the geometry of the lines and volumes, the ornamentation emphasizes and enhances each form, though without domination. Through the ornamentation, the rigid framework of the profiles and masses becomes animated with the shimmering of light and shade – all are in living communion. Unified in their setting, the scenes with figures and the decoration achieve perfect harmony.


A French architecture firm, T3 Architecture, has participated in an international competition to design 4-stars Green Tropical Hotel in Cambodia. It is such a great start for Bio climatic building development in Sihanouk-ville Cambodia, along the beach. T3 proposed a modern tropical design for this hotel, with some reference to Cambodian culture as well as Mediterranean marina

T3 has used local materials to reduce construction cost and have a lower carbon footprint and has designed bioclimatic buildings with large balconies, double ventilated roof, arcade in ground floor. All public areas are naturally ventilated to save energy (no air conditioning).

It is proved that in a long term, bioclimatic architecture is profitable – coupled with rising energy prices, a building can justify the investment in five years. The society has begun to realize the inevitable need to optimize our energy consumption with relation to the environment depletion through sustainability initiatives. ( – VL)

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