The Children Development Center in the Thai town of Mae Sot recently completed the last of four low-impact bamboo and timber dormitories designed to provide temporary shelter for up to 100 children. The dorms were designed for rapid construction using local materials and techniques in order to house child refugees from bordering Burma.
The first of four 72-sq m (775-sq ft) dormitories was completed within four weeks of its April 2012 commencement. The architects behind the project, Albert Olmo, Jan Glasmeier and Line Ramstad, decided from the outset that the buildings should be made from materials that could be either reused or resold.
The decision to design with local traditional construction methods in mind was made in order to make future maintenance of the buildings easy. It was also decided that no one dorm should sleep more than 25 to prevent crowding.
It should be stressed that these dorms provide temporary accommodation. In all the Child Development Center, which is run by the Mae Tao Clinic, is home to more than 500 refugee and ethnic minority children, and in January enrolled 1141 new students, a rise of 4 percent from the previous year. The increase has been attributed to the outbreak of further conflict in Burma in the closing months of 2010.
The cost of the dormitories (€1700, or US$2100, each) was met by the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok and built by G'yaw G'yaw, a Thai construction company founded by Norwegian architect Line Ramstad that specializes in community buildings for Karen refugees in Thailand.