New York-based firm COOKFOX Architects unveiled pro-bono designs for the Neeson Cripps Academy, an eco-friendly school that will provide Cambodia’s most impoverished children with high-quality education. Located in Phnom Penh, the new school will be built in the heart of the notorious Steung Meanchey, the city’s former garbage dump community infamous for its piles of smoking refuse and toxic smoke. The $4 million landmark institution will be fully funded by Velcro Companies and will be operated by the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
The five-story Neeson Cripps Academy will offer free education to approximately 300 students from the local families who previously made a living off of scavenging the former Steung Meanchey dumpsite. The healthy and energy efficient building comprises two wings: a long, east-west wing with flexible open-air learning spaces shaded by bamboo on the southern façade, and a north-south wing housing the science and technology space air-conditioned by energy-efficient systems. According to the COOKFOX press release, the curriculum will include “a robust English language program, STEM subjects, and access to the latest digital technologies and global connectivity through eLearning.”
The high-performance school uses both biophilic and passive design principles to minimize its water and energy usage. Large openings promote natural ventilation and daylighting, while terracotta and bamboo solar shades protect the building from the harsh sun. A green roof further minimizes solar heat gain, reduces stormwater runoff, and provides learning opportunities. Patterns inspired by traditional Khmer textiles will be printed atop exposed concrete.
Construction on the Neeson Cripps Academy will begin in August and the building is slated for completion in 2016.