Looking for more than a vacation in southeast Asia, an amazing set of young, skilled students from Norway set out to change the future for a group of orphans in Thailand. TYIN Tegnestue is a non-profit organization focused on an array of humanitarian projects that hope to provide real solutions through architecture. Run by a group of students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, a new workshop held at Safe Haven Orphanage located in Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand, gave way to an incredible new structure for the destitute community. Sourcing local materials and collaborating with locals, the group of students built a beautiful new building that would provide both a bathing house and a library to help with the dire sanitary conditions and the lack of educational resources in the area.
TYIN Tegnestue works on strategic projects that can improve the lives for people in difficult situations – in this case refugees on the Thai-Burmese border. Understanding the importance of an extensive collaboration with locals, the team involved the community in both the design and building process, giving them a sense of ownership of what they were creating. All the materials used were collected from areas near the site or purchased from local markets, in turn enabling people to continue on their own terms without depending on foreign funds or resources.
The new bathing house covers basic needs, providing toilets, amenities for personal hygiene and laundry. The existing structure was used as a foundation for the new building, and applications such as bamboo, teak, repurposed wood and other local materials were employed.
Providing a resource to educate the children was paramount, and the resulting library provides a space for them to do their homework, use computers with internet, read books, as well as a place to socialize with one another. The library itself was cast on a bed of large rocks found on site, then with plastered concrete walls able to cool the building during the day. An open bamboo facade provides optimal ventilation to the space.
The Safe Haven Orphanage is an amazing example of how socially responsible architecture, youth, ingenuity, a hands-on approach, and open hearts can give way to a genuine sustainable effect on a community.
Photos: © Pasi Aalto / TYIN Tegnestue