Gallery: Norwegian Students Build Airy Bamboo and Teak Library for Thai...

Read and play at the Library: there are books written in different languages and lots of games to play with

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.

+ TYIN Tegnestue

+ Safe Haven Orphan

Photos: © Pasi Aalto / TYIN Tegnestue

Via ArchDaily


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  1. Witchaya Saithongkham April 2, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Fantastic and inspiring!
    Brilliant combination of bamboo and teak.
    Lovely for the children to be, grow and learn in this environment. A true blessing.

  2. phanitbee April 15, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Comment from Thai designer.
    It’s so interesting idea from student. They’ve already studied Thailand rural climate, day lighting and local materials. So, they can designed and built the whole concept for village people usage. We’ve shared those photos among of us, to appreciate their creative with implementable work.

  3. karenwil March 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    This a terrific project for University students.
    ‘The light’s’ comment about climate issues affecting the books -yes this will become an issue but the idea is a great one and their students so their learning what works and what doesn’t. They haven’t perfected their work and don’t have years of experience in design like herman miller santa rosa does.

  4. maddwoman March 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

    amazing.i really think the students did great.brilliant.

  5. anothervoice March 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm


    And I don’t think we’re talking about archival-quality conditions necessary for donated children’s books, are we? No.

  6. thelight March 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Although this is a really neat idea, and possibly great for a reading room, it’s a horrible idea/design for a library! Books need to be kept in temperature and humidity controlled rooms or they will degrade quickly. This goes double for an area like Thailand, which has a lot of humidity.

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