- Sustainable Architecture
- Eco-lodges in Cambodia for bird-watching
Tourism is often an important source of income for many developing communities but the downside of this is that it can impact on the environment, the real source of earnings, given that the true resource of these zones are the beauties of nature, like in the Cambodian village of Tmat Boey. Two of the world’s rarest birds – the giant ibis and the white-shouldered ibis – still have their nesting grounds here in the village outskirts, in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS) – the only still intact area in what used to be a typical Indochina ecosystem. The sanctuary is home to the world’s largest group of mammals and waterbirds outside the African savannah.
This is the context for the project by Building Trust International with Atelier COLE, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Sam Veasna Center (SVC) for eco-lodges, designed and built by the local communities with the help of NGOs and volunteer workshops.
The traditional building materials are sourced locally, as are the architectural forms; mud and bamboo, together with recycled plastic bottles were used to create a low environmental impact construction.
Still, the true heart of the project goes beyond green, participatory architecture; in Tmat Boey a new system of economic support for the population is being created and it is motivating the defence of the nesting grounds on the edge of the village. Because apart from the direct earnings from providing accommodation and guides for the tourists, the community also receives a conservation contribution from every birdwatcher who sees an ibis.
An eco-tourism project that we really appreciate because defending the environment and protecting the forest here generates an all-round virtuous circle of sustainability, a responsible development model to reproduce.
Project: Building Trust International with Atelier COLE, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Sam Veasna Xenter (SVC)
Location: Tmat Boey, Cambodia
Images: © WCS e Building Trust