Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Central Post Office
This post office in the heart of the French district represents a time of major change in Cambodia.
Kissed by sea-mist, even the biggest Scrooges can’t resist sending a letter to the North Pole from this locale. While it may look like it has stood on the beachside for more than a century, this mailroom and it’s beach cottage neighbors were actually born in the era of Duran Duran and leg warmers.
First constructed in 1985, the Seaside Post Office was the beginning of a man’s dreams finally coming to fruition. The 80 acres that made up the original planned site was first bought by Robert Davis’ grandfather in the 1940s. Inheriting the land in 1976, Davis wished to create a historic-looking beachfront community counter to the modernist beach houses that were popping up all over Western Florida.
Teaming up with DPZ Architects, Davis and his wife designed a settlement with a large octagonal square, streets for both cars and pedestrians to share, and the 18th Century-looking post office to be a modest civic center. Strict rules were put in place in order to preserve the look and feel of the development: houses have to be unique from their neighbors, there are no front lawns, and only native trees and plants can serve up curb appeal.
While unincorporated and still privately owned, Seaside has blossomed into a unique development on the historic 30A highway. Once sitting by itself amongst undeveloped fields, the “old” post office and its wood-planked neighbors are primed to grace the Floridian coastline for the next decades to come–just don’t wait another decade to mail that letter to Santa.
Written by: Seamus McMahon
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