German architect and photographer Ekkehart Keintzel’s series “Khmer Concrete” (taken from 2012–2016) forms a visual examination of the surviving architecture built in Cambodia during its period of cultural prosperity between gaining its independence in 1953 and the coup d'état in 1970.
Architecture was an important part of Cambodia’s new independent self-image, with many foreign-trained young architects enriching Cambodia’s landscape with a new formal language that mixed classical modernism with traditional elements. The architecture managed to survive the murderous Khmer Rouge regime but has recently become under threat of demolition. Keintzel’s series documents buildings from this period in their current transitory state and pays homage to the architecture that still retains its poetic power in contemporary Cambodia.
“Today, however, Cambodia’s understanding of its own architectural past is under threat, usually being limited to its ancient temples such as Angkor Wat. The cultural value of the buildings from the period of upheaval between 1953 and 1975 is sadly recognised by few. My hope is that this book can help to raise awareness of Cambodia’s more recent architectural legacy.”
— from Ekkehart Keintzel’s foreword