New RUFA building to embody classical Khmer form

Source: Phnom Penh Post

The current Royal University of Fine Arts building, which houses much traditional and cultural design forms, will be completely converted into an expansion of the National Museum of Cambodia within the next few years. Sreng Meng Srun

The peninsula of Chroy Changvar will soon see a new addition to its land, with the new Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) building slated to commence construction there in April. The reasons for relocation: better aesthetics, less traffic congestion, fresher air.

At the same time, the current RUFA building will be converted into an extended annex of the National Museum of Cambodia, which lies to the east of the school.

While details are still being refined and withheld from the general public, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Thai Norak Sathya said the new RUFA building would sprawl over a land area of four hectares. It would externally embody the artistic intricacies and sculpture of traditional Khmer buildings, while its interior would project elements of modern minimalism.

Although Sathya said he was not a hundred per cent clear on the design, as the master plan is still in the final stages of fine-tuning, he explained there would be up to three buildings that would rise over three storeys each. What he emphasised was how the new building needed to be housed in a more spacious area away from the fumes of traffic.

Besides housing the university’s five faculties – Archaelogy, Architecture and Urbanism, Fine Arts, Choreographic Arts, Music – there would be gardens, underground parking lots, sports parks, a library, and a performing arts theatre.

On how long the building will take until its completion, Sathya said it would take a number of years, neither giving a definite timeframe nor confirming if it would take more than two years.

As of now, he revealed that the budget allocated for RUFA’s new building was $12 million. However, in the event that it went over the budget, “we will try to find funding to complete the project,” said Sathya.

He explained that the National Museum taking over the current RUFA building was to portray the Kingdom’s art and culture to the world, thus it was vital to retain the original structure of the university buildings.

The new RUFA development is being undertaken by a local architectural company which is working in conjunction with professors of architecture in RUFA, one of whom is Tang Sovichet Vitou.

“More details about the full design of the new RUFA building can be given once I get the consent from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts,” said Vitou.

RUFA recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with an exhibition that ran from March 23 to 25.

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