Heart of the School - Site-Specific
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Heart of the School

 

Baan Doi Chang School is the heart of a mountain village of the same name. It sits on the top of a hill with houses dwindling along the slope down from the school. Baan Doi Chang School hosts approximately 700 students in its two campuses. The main campus has 600 students and 20 teachers. While the annex campus is a home to 100 full-board students and 5 teachers. This makes Baan Doi Chang one of the largest schools in Chiang Rai province.

 

There are a few sites that were a candidate of the new classrooms construction. After several design studies and revisions, it was finally decided that the new classroom building would sit just off the main court where most activities in the school such as morning greeting rituals, boy and girl scouts classes and daytime sport activities can happen anytime of the day. And the villagers also use this court space after school as a public plaza for sport and leisure activities.

 

The new classroom building is the ‘heart of the school’ where different parts of the building can be used through out the day. The main staircase can perform as outdoor classroom for environment classes and boy and girl scouts, bleachers for sport activities, amphitheater for performances and concerts, community meeting area for the village and sitting area for the off-hour users. Supplementary sitting areas are incorporated into the step design in front of the classrooms and also integrated into the balcony design on the second floor.

 

The new classroom building is a part of its natural environment. The classroom itself is design so to allow maximum cross ventilation during the hot and humid summer months and stay warm and breeze proof during the cold and dry winter months. The classrooms also receive ample amount of sunlight during the day while the screen protects the sunray from directly entering the room.

 

Baan Doi Chang village is a long-term development project where the villagers’ involvement is integral. Unlike most other disaster relief projects where designers depart soon after the project is finished, the new classroom building is the first of many projects that Site-Specific : Architecture & Research and Baan Doi Chang community will continue to work collectively to develop Baan Doi Chang School and Baan Doi Chang community. Within this short period other projects such as the school masterplan, courtyard revitalization and a coffee learning center have already begun to develop.

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