The built environment can help to achieve a new era of global wellness. In 2020, the first time that AEC's team explored ways to design a modular retreat to be assembled on site using mainly recyclable and local materials. The building can be dismantled and relocated partially to another site. Through the use of site analysis, resident-analysis, precedent studies and historical analysis, the design team developed a specific design proposals. "KH retreat" embraces a low-tech aesthetic towards the operation of the building itself, fully embodying the idea of retreat space and relaxation. Positioned within the Cambodian countryside setting, this proposal has been designed as a series of retreats connected through tropical gardens and walkways to create a community-focused. The retreat aims to combine elements of the traditional Cambodian dwelling with others elements that make it the idea of attractive, healthy and sustainable design. With a total built area of 60 sqm, the building form is made up from the overlapping of the letters KH which means Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, those letters give an organized pattern of form and space. A steeply pitched roof sits partially above a rammed earth wall and timber structure. The fragmented volumes of the building is mixed with natural elements for seamless indoor-outdoor flow. Thanks to natural cross ventilation, built in insulation through the roof and rammed earth maintains the space will have a cool and constant temperature. Designed according to these thermal mass principles, the architectural earth formation naturally doesn’t need an air-conditioning system, the site would run on solar panels and rainwater collection systems. The perimetric openings provide passive cooling and fresh air circulation within the interior, natural daylight that penetrates into the space, reducing the need for artificial lighting. 
A Sustainable approach and respect for the existing nature on site, there are many factors to consider in a holistic design approach with respect to the surroundings.



The building envelope must balance ventilation and daylight requirements while providing moisture and thermal protection. In response to the aspects of the site, an appropriate design has been respected for the following aspects:
_ Weathertight detailing;
_ Passive solar design;
_ Moisture protection;
_ Thermal-acoustic insulation level;
_ Natural daylight and shading;
_ Natural Ventilation.

Design Team: Stephen Heng, Pongpol
Clients: private
Engineering: AEC
Renderings credits: AEC in collaboration with MOZ

KH retreat by Alessandro Mangano in Cambodia won the WA Award Cycle 37. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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