international contribution

Floating in the sky, a school for Thai orphans

This school aims to help alleviate poverty in Shangkhaburi village, Thailand, located near the Myanmar border. There are a lot of immigrants and orphans in this area, and the adults are so poor that they cannot raise their children without support.

We aimed to help to provide a good future for these kids, and we hoped that the school we designed would help them realize their dreams. To begin, the teacher asked the children to draw their dream images of the school building. One of them drew a flying ship. We adapted his idea, and translated his drawing into the architectural design. The image was adapted into two main architectural components: round, earth-bag volumes on the ground, capped by a light steel structure finished with bamboo and a grass roof.

The round volumes create a warm interior, fostering a sense of comfort for the children in the earthen prayer dome and classroom. The floating level above functions as a Buddhist activity room and learning area. A gentle breeze flows through the thatched roof, giving the feeling of being aboard a ship. The upper floor connects to the earth-bag domes below through two openings.

Since its completion, the school has become a vibrant place for the community to enjoy study, play, and prayer everyday. The interpretation of the children's dreams into the architectural form establishes a foundation for leading the children to a bright future.