With the support of the Cambodian government
Cambodia House was built thanks to a donation made by the royal government of Cambodia in 1950. It opened after Cambodia’s independence in 1957, in a ceremony attended by the President of France René Coty and Prince Norodom Sihanouk. French architect Alfred Audoul designed the house in a standard u-shape and included decorative elements from the Khmer culture. These can be seen in the stripes running along the base of the building, similar to the temples of Angkor and in the two granite sculptures of monkeys.
Closed for 30 years
The civil war in Cambodia in the 1970s had repercussions reaching all the way to Paris. In 1973 there were confrontations and near-violent incidences among residents of the house, and it was closed as a result. It would not open again for another 30 years.
Recently renovated and reopened
After being left empty for nearly 30 years, the house was in quite a dilapidated state. In April 2001, Cambodia signed an agreement with the chancellor of the universities of Paris and the Cité internationale, paving the way for its renovation. Architect Patrick Magendie oversaw the restoration of the building, which also provided the perfect opportunity to increase the accommodation capacity by 60%. The restored and enlarged building reopened its doors in the autumn of 2003.
Did you know?
Cambodia House was able to add new rooms by converting the space on the ground level that had in the past housed the boiler room.