Under the Canopy: Architectural Intervention

A Creative Generation Project in collaboration with Friends International
At F3 (Friends Futures Factory)

Under the Canopy is an architectural intervention in the heart of Phnom Penh that emphasizes principles of sustainability and contemporary design-thinking. Creative Generation is working with a young Cambodian architect to design a temporary canopy from sustainable materials that will be repurposed or recycled at the end of the project. Situated in the F3 courtyard, the canopy activates the atmosphere of the community space with a site-specific design that not only serves a practical purpose to create shade, but also an aesthetic one. The canopy transforms the space with a contemporary structure and offers an exciting contrast to the colonial architecture, while echoing the modernist design of the warehouse and architectural innovations of F3.

In addition to presenting a sustainable design in a public space, the canopy serves as a point of public engagement. It is an opportunity for a public program of events that highlights relevant issues of urbanism and sustainability. It challenges the public to consider the potential of thoughtful design and how it impacts their built environment and communities.

Furthermore, the project offers an inspiring opportunity for a young architect to develop and implement a creative concept and to learn practical skills useful in their field. To bring the project to fruition, Under the Canopy mobilizes the support, mentorship and technical guidance of a community of experts that together build up the next generation of creatives.


NUON Songty, formerly Junior Architect at COLE (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), has been invited to design and produce the first canopy for the F3 courtyard.

Under the mentorship of architect David Cole, Songty has proposed a spectacular structure that utilizes local craftworks and transforms them into sophisticated design that simultaneously reminds us of its origins in Cambodian traditions while firmly positioning itself in the contemporary.


Under the Canopy is an instrument for public engagement at the intersection of creativity, urbanism and sustainability. For 2022, the newly constructed canopy will be on display for five months during the dry season and offers an inviting space for social gatherings, regular events and festivities organized by F3 and its community. During the inaugural month, Under the Canopy proposes a public engagement program with two approaches: 1| Dialogue and 2| Creative Community.

– Student engagement: Students from universities and high schools are invited to visit the Under the Canopy project and hear from the architect about the concept and process of making it. They will explore topics of design, urbanism and sustainability.
– Panel discussion: A panel of experts from the fields of urbanism and sustainable architecture and design will present on relevant topics and follow with a moderated q&a session.

2| Creative Community: To expand the conversation on sustainability in design, youth from the Mith Samlanh, local and international schools, will work together to create a sustainable art installation. Under the guidance of artists and the project director, young people will participate in a workshop to produce small objects from sustainable materials (like recycled paper, natural dyes, etc.) that when displayed together will lead to a spectacular installation of natural textures and organic colors. They will learn about recycling, sustainable materials and how to work creatively as a group.


NUON Songty began his career in architecture as a college intern at COLE, where he continues to be involved in schematic and conceptual designs of projects such as resort, office space and especially urban planning. After that experience, he obtained his Bachelors of Architectural Design and Urbanism from the Norton University. He then began work as a junior architect at COLE, where he is continuing to work and gain experience. Songty has an interest in architecture that pays attention to the environment, culture and local community. Particularly he is interested in minimal linear design that uses its form to celebrate place as well as successfully blend into its surrounding context.

For this project, Songty is mentored by David Cole. David is the Director of AtelierCOLE design firm and founder of the built environment non-profit Building Trust. In both roles David runs a multi disciplinary team of designers, thinkers, makers and creators in delivering designs that are both unique and aim to have wide reaching social and environmental benefits. Working on projects internationally David first came to Cambodia to deliver flood resistant housing in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to communities affected by severe flooding in 2013. Since then he has helped design health facilities, schools, recreation facilities, community-based ecotourism infrastructure, resorts, retail outlets, offices and housing.


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