A senior minister yesterday asked investors and developers in Phnom Penh’s buoyant construction industry to incorporate Khmer architecture into their projects, arguing that it would bolster opportunities for local architects and engineers while infusing more character into the city as high-rise buildings start to dominate the skyline.

Chea Sophara, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, speaking during the Construction Industry Expo in Diamond Island, said developers should consider blending Khmer motifs and architectural style into their projects as a way of retaining and strengthening the city’s identity.

“As high-rise buildings sprout around the city, developers really ought to use more Khmer architecture in their new projects,” he said.

Tous Saphoeun, dean of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department at Pannasastra University, found the minister’s request fully justified, and said the city has the human capital needed to undertake more Khmer-style projects.

“I do believe that more Khmer-style buildings should be raised. It will give the city more character,” he said.

“I think now we have the skills and manpower do undertake this kind of projects. We have very advanced architecture programmes in our universities.”

In April, local company Parkway Investment announced the construction of an upscale Khmer-style condominium building in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district that will cost $100 million.

Company’s representatives claim it will be the first-ever blending of Khmer architecture and modern fixtures.

Investment into the construction industry during the first ten months of the year reached $6.26 billion, 27 percent higher than during the same period last year, according to a report from the Ministry of Land Management.