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Thai school builds low-impact bamboo dorms to shelter refugee children


June 28, 2012

The dorms were designed for rapid construction using local materials and techniques in ord...

The dorms were designed for rapid construction using local materials and techniques in order to house child refugees from bordering Burma (Photo: Line Ramstad/Allyse Pulliam)

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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.

The dorms were designed for rapid construction using local materials and techniques in ord...

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.

Source: Open Architecture Network, via Inhabitat

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway

Great post and a great idea using readily available bamboo.Top marks to the Luxembourg Embassy.

28th June, 2012 @ 04:04 am PDT

Totally agree with robinyatesuk2003.

It just shows what can be done with a bit ingenuity - making a worthwhile impact at relatively little cost - excellent! I wonder if such buildings might be adopted elsewhere in Thailand to cope with emergency situations. OK a bit primitive but better than nothing in a crisis (e.g. recent floods). AND the design looks not only demountable but largely 'portable' so when finished in one site they could be moved and rebuilt at another. Congratulations to the architect.

28th June, 2012 @ 07:51 am PDT

Beautiful and simple design. But it could do with a higher roof so that it is not too hot in the afternoon.

28th June, 2012 @ 06:54 pm PDT

Congratulation to Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok and the people responsible for design and construction of this innovation. Perhaps the designer can add rainwater pipe (made from splitting large bamboo in half with large earthen jar as storage. This should supply enough driking water to the student.

At cost of $US 2,100 (about Baht 66,000) per unit for housing 25 refugee students from Myanmar, this is nothing short of miracle. It is better than anything they had in Myanmar. A meal for four at most of Bangkok's plush restaurants would cost more than this bamboo hut. Perhaps some of the top officials of the Thai government can give up their official Mercedez Benzs or BMWs (costing from Baht 3.5 million to Baht 7.5 million), many more bamboo huts can be buillt complete with TV and Internet access.

The Embassy of Luxembourg should solicit public donation to this worthwhile projects to help these refygee children.

A. Ted Vorachard
30th June, 2012 @ 10:07 pm PDT

I truly appreciate Thai school for building low-impact bamboo dorms to give shelter to refugee children. Inside structure of that shelter is quite impressive and simple as well. I hope refugee children will be comfortable staying there. Thanks.

15th January, 2013 @ 04:17 am PST
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