Khmeresque is a Won Buddhist temple in Battambang, Cambodia, which comes from a collaboration between Seoul-based architects Archium and Kim in-cheurl. It is a great example of low-tech architecture.

We notice how simple materials are used in clever ways to respond perfectly to the context (meant as both climatic and intent) and to the low-cost necessity of the build.

In this case, the client needed a building which was to be an empty shell for religious activity and gathering to happen. The building was intended to respond to two very basic but vital needs: environmental protection and being a vehicle for conveying a spiritual atmosphere.

This is perfectly executed in a plan which consists of a series of inside-outside spaces, organised under a large canopy. The roof is a key element for both shading and protection from the rain. The humid climate meant that the closed spaces needed to facilitate passive ventilation. This is where we see the perforated bricks – a key element in the build – coming into use. The bricks are also a fundamental feature in creating a unique game of light and shadow within; allowing the spiritual nature of the space to come alive.

At night, the building becomes a pixelated lantern, creating a richly spiritual atmosphere. In Khmeresque, we once again underline the importance of simplicity in design. Sometimes, the banalest materials can be brought to life in the most beautiful ways through the ingenuity of the designers.


Partial long facade. [Source: Archium]
The outdoor areas are devoted more active pursuits. [Source: Archium]
A colonnade of tree trunks defines the hybrid indoor-outdoor space, whilst complementing and softening the industrial raw concrete frame and perforated-brick mosaic. [Source: Archium]
As the sun sets, the perforated timber wall casts fantastic shadows on the concrete floor of the exterior room. [Source: Archium]
Light and shadows are key architectural elements in bringing this design to life. [Source: Archium]
View of the semi-exterior room. [Source: Archium]
Beautiful simplicity of the interior space. [Source: Archium]
The materials consist of an industrial palette which is locally sourced, economic and readily available. [Source: Archium]
Entrance to the building. [Source: Archium]
The interior is used for religious practice. [Source: Archium]
The perforated bricks have a practical purpose (providing passive ventilation in a highly humid climate), but also a spiritual one as they create the ideal atmosphere for reflection and prayer. [Source: Archium]
Detail showing the perforated brick: one of the key features of the building. [Source: Archium]
At night, the building emanates mesmerising pixels of light. [Source: Archium]
Partial long facade of the building at night. [Source: Archium]
Full long facade of the building at night. [Source: Archium]
[Source: Archium]
[Source: Archium]
Exploded Axonometric. [Source: Archium]