Vann Residence Phnom Penh, 1966
I met the Vann's this morning, Trudy and Molyvann, at their home set behind a tall white fence on the busy street 163 in Phnom Penh. They were able to build the large house, which was also home to Molyvann's office for the years he practiced, with the commissions he earned designing his two major private projects; The SKD Brewery and the Bank of Cambodia complex, both in Sihanoukville.
Thanks to Trudy's connections at the UN, the Vann's were able to leave the country in 1971 before civil war would engulf the country. The house was left abandoned throughout the Khmer Rouge's occupation of Phnom Penh but was later used by the Department of Urban Planning and Construction. In 1993, when Vann Molyvann was asked to return to oversee projects like the restoration of the ancient temples, it was partly on condition that he be able to return to his home. The Vann's were finally able to come home when Hun Sen agreed. Trudy noted, presciently perhaps considering the capricious nature of the current regime, that they have the agreement in writing.