Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) commissioned Hong Kong-based practice Orient Occident Atelier, comprising architects Kenrick Wong, Magic Kwan, Fionne Chan and Harrison Lai, to design WaterHall Project, a community initiative located in Sneung Village of Battambang in Cambodia.
The 60m² WaterHall project, that aims to provide safe drinking water to underprivileged communities while also establishing a community social space where residents of the area can gather for social celebrations and festivities, houses a pump and filter system that generates clean water for locals. This social project won the HKIA community funding. Discovering and documenting local building techniques and craftsmanship was important during the design process, while addressing the requirements of modern architecture.
Sneung is a remote village located on the outskirts of Battambang, which was previously ravaged by landmines in the Khmer Rouge era. The village uses a nearby lake and wells as its main water sources. The access to water is very unreliable, as the lake is dry for half of the year due to recurring droughts and floods caused by climate change, and wells are contaminated by pollution from nearby factories. Additionally, the village is also affected by waste pollution caused by the constant usage of plastic bottled water.
In order to alleviate the water shortage problem, the HKIA team, led by Jane Luk and Janet Tam, raised funds and created the WaterHall Project. Water is collected from both natural rainfall and the nearby lake which is then filtered through the system, providing safe potable water for locals to collect and use. With the villagers able to use locally made ceramic jugs and bottles to carry filtered water, the plastic bottle garbage pollution problem has also been eliminated.
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Photos: Magic Kwan, Kenrick Wong
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