End of an Era
In the 1960s, Phnom Penh’s White Building symbolized progress—a new Cambodia. Now the housing complex is being demolished, taking an architectural ‘Golden Age’ along with it
By Kate Ginn and Anandha Loustau
July 28, 2017
The lawns are immaculate, a uniform line of neat shrubs dotted around a serene garden. A sprawling new apartment block, pristine white, clean and fresh, glistens as bright as the future it promises for a new Cambodia.
This is the White Building as it was meant to be: a potent symbol of urban social development. Photographs from the 1960s show a building—known then as the Municipal Apartments—that is almost unrecognizable as the dilapidated landmark associated with the name today.