Architect Finds Connection in Angkor Temples Restoration

Meng Sovann Lylin is working as an architect and technician repairing the structures.

Meng Sovann Lylin uses skills to preserve the past

SIEM REAP--While many Cambodian architecture graduates focus on contemporary buildings, Meng Sovann Lylin has joined the APSARA National Authority to preserve archeological sites and ancient temples at the Angkor Archaeological Park for the next generation.

She is working as an architect and technician repairing the structures and has been involved in conserving ancient temples for more than four years since graduating.

Working at the Takao Gate renovation site of Angkor Park, Lylin said, “I joined the team because I wanted to feel connected to the ancient architecture.

“We preserve our past by preserving our architecture. Hence, our nation, as well as our architecture, will be alive forever.”

Restoration work on Cambodia's ancient temples is not popular, with a seeming demand for more and more modern construction, but she said the work is significant.

“It’s important because ancient temples are like our souls and identities,” she said. “If we do not have all these ancient temples, we cannot move forward. It is like our good past and it is also the identity of Cambodia.”

She has been involved in repairing Ak Yum Temple, Chan Ta Uon Temple, Kandal Srah Srang Temple and Bayon Temple.

“Modern architecture is the same as ancient architecture. I could also understand ancient architecture when I had a job as a modern architect. I do modern architecture based on Khmer style, not foreign style,” she said.  

Working as an ancient architect, Lylin said she is happy and proud of her career. She also shared experiences as a conservator of ancient temples.

“Starting to learn architecture, we strengthen ourselves by working while drawing the structure,” she said. “It means that we have to visit the sites and start to adjust ourselves little by little. We get tired because architecture is hard work.

“When we graduate, we come to work, which is not so different from studying. It's just hard because I have to supervise the workers by myself, and most of the workers are men. At first, it was tiring, but eventually, it is like normal work.”

Born in Sihanoukville, Lylin wants to see the ancient temples in the Angkor resort revived and preserved and to show that the restorations have been carried out by Cambodian people.

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