Outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, where the country's tallest mountains meet the flat rice fields is a primary school like no other. Based on Buddhist teachings, the Panyaden School aims to not only be environmentally friendly, but teach their students about green living by delivering a holistic education. 24H architecture designed the school's campus, which is made up of a collection of pavilion-style buildings made from bamboo and rammed earth. The campus also grows its own organic vegetables, treats its wastewater and collects biogas for cooking all as a sustainable example to their students.
The 5,000 sq m bamboo school is located on a site that was formerly a fruit orchard and is now a collection of pavilions organized along pathways inspired by the shape of the tropical antler horn fern. The buildings are all made from earth’s elements and were constructed into shapes with a nod to nature, like leaves and birds.
There are two types of pavilions for different activities within the school. The first is a classroom pavilion with load-bearing walls from rammed earth, which divide the building into 3 classrooms. The outer walls are made of adobe and reclaimed glass from bottles and washing machine windows were custom framed with recycled local hardwood to bring light into the space. The second type of building is the open-air sala and is used for common functions such as the assembly hall and the canteen. Bamboo columns shoot out of concrete foundations to a bamboo canopy and give the impression of walking through a forest.
Besides being built of local and eco-friendly materials, the school aims to educate their students about sustainability so that they can be ambassadors of green living for their families and community. The school treats their waste water and recycles their food waste to produce organic fertilizers and biogas for cooking. Curriculum for the 375 kid school includes both Thai and English languages, local arts, agricultural methods, special classes about tropical forest plants, cloth weaving and northern cuisine. The Panyaden School was completed in April 2011.
Images ©Ally Taylor/Panyaden School