Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten awarded in the International FAD 2019 Awards
Text by Pau Sarquella
Every year the International Program in Design & Architecture (INDA) from Chulalongkorn University, proposes summer courses to design and build facilities for rural communities. One of the projects developed in 2018, the Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten, has been recently awarded with the Opinion Prize and a Jury Mention of the International FAD 2019 Awards, Barcelona, Spain.
The Jury led by Anne Lacaton (Lacaton & Vassal Architectes), who recently won the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies Van de Rohe Award, commented on the project.
“An intelligent optimization of resources where architecture plays the main role as a tool for generating a programme with just a few elements on site. This intelligent strategy to adapt circumstances (the community, the location and the budget) results in a clever intervention for a complex programme. A simple roof can host an educational programme where an involved community can be part of the entire process of building it. Architecture makes a community. The project aims for simplicity in the architecture by using a small number of materials and a good design of the plans and details.”
The project was led by Pau Sarquella and Carmen Torres, architects from Barcelona, who taught at INDA for more than 3 years, together with a group of 21 talented INDA students.
The starting point of the project was to create a strategy to balance the available budget with the high expectations of the school, which needed an entire new building for a kindergarten. Therefore, the proposal was to generate a set of modular roofs, designed to grow over time, according to the needs of the school and future donations to complete the set.
The applied constructive techniques have their origin in the reinterpretation of the colorful endemic and self-built architecture of the area, as well as the technology and resources available. The roofs crowned with solar chimneys guarantee the natural ventilation of the spaces, achieving a very good thermal comfort without energy consumption and taking advantage of the qualities of the tropical climate.
The highlight, however, is the social exchange derived from that kind of projects, since all the design team moved from Bangkok to Dum Yai (Ubon Ratchathani) during the construction process, sharing the time with the people of the town, school children and local workers, fostering a collaborative and creative, intergenerational and international environment with a constant exchange of experiences and knowledge.
Since 1958, year after year the FAD Awards have been rewarding the best of Barcelonese, Catalan and Iberian architectural works. They have done so maintaining an independence and constancy, overcoming all kinds of difficulties, achieving the status of the oldest awards in Europe —and arguably the world— and one of the most prestigious.
Credits & Details
Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten, Dum Yai, Thailand
Lat: 15.60179 Long: 104.716909
Year 3 Design and Construction Projects for Communities
by INDA, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University
Main Sponsor: Mitsubishi Elevator (Thailand) Co.,LTD.
Other Sponsors: Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, Director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital; Udomsri Siriboonma; Luacha Po-op, Managing Director of MECT co.,Ltd. ; Banyat Pimproa, Managing Director of Plutotech Company Limited; Tanin Sajjaboribun, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bangkok Sheet Metal Public co.,Ltd., ; Thanakorn Wongwises, Vice President, Partner Project & Eco Building Business, Thailand & Laos, Schneider Electric Thailand; Chanisa Ngamapichon; Boonsak Kiatjaroonlert, Managing Director of Kumwell Corporation Limited; Orunuma Xuto; Korachapol Khutrakul; Pakawipa Charoentra; Nonthapat Khutrakul; Toyota Motor Corporation Thailand.
Client: Bang Nong Saeng School
Dum Yai Ban Nong Saeng School Director: Mr.Suriya Thonukarn
Instructors: Pau Sarquella, Carmen Torres
Teacher Assistant: Tanskul Suwannakudt,
Students: Prompruit Snitwongse, Chanin Homdee, Wasutop Viriyasuebpong, Proud Danpoe, Rasa Shirdel, Natthida Mongkonsiri, Napassorn Charoentra, Phannarath Siritantipat, Phannita Jiravatsatith, Parisorn Itsarapanich, Thanakarn Srathongin, Pongtrust Patcharapond, Chanai Chaitaneeyachat, Palakorn Guagulpipat, Natchapongtorn Gaesornsuwan, Ponrphat Bejrananda, Yada Chatavaraha, Noppanut Bovornratanavech, Natchaluck Radomsittipat, Nutnicha Attawutinun, Panat Triwattana (INDA Students)
Contractor: Huanhuk Construction LP
Photographer: Beer Singnoi, Pau Sarquella
Structural engineer: Siroj Tungkahotara
Build Surface: 380m2
Budget: 800,000 THB
Project and construction dates: June 2018 to October 2018
Design Build for Community is a program co-sponsored by the International Program in Design and Architecture (INDA) at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok) and Mitsubishi Elevators Thailand. The annual program focuses on providing new communal spaces to underprivileged communities, mainly in rural Thailand. A special attention is given to the design process with community participation.
This year, the tenacity of Dum Yai’s school director, the inventiveness of students and instructors, and the resiliency of workers and villagers, led possible to upgrade the project from a 60 sqm space to a 300 sqm kindergarten. In a 500-people eastern town, surrounded by rice plantations, access to not only proper education, but also quality spaces to meet, learn and play was enthusiastically received.
Different mechanisms made that possible:
– Questioning the brief and the available resources. Defining educational and recreational needs, redefining the spatial requirements and expanding the limits from what it’s commonly requested to what is socially rewarding.
– Strategically designing the building as a modular system with ability to exist as a partial building and grow in the near future when more funds will be available. When finished, the entire program is thought to be hosted under 4 identical roofs, but with the given budget, there was only enough to build two of them. At one of the future rooms a temporary garden was planted. Finally, as more funds were found, a third roof was able to be built, but not yet the walls of its room.
– Rethinking the constructive techniques and aesthetics, a reinterpretation of the colorful context and everyday mechanisms of extended roof and eaves seen on vernacular and endemic architecture. Students were to manufacture a colorful, easy-to-assemble awning system that is to increase at 50% the surface of the kindergarten at highly reduced costs. That intermediate space, not considered in the required space for the classroom program, is vital for the social and recreational activities to be held on day to day life of the kindergarten.
– Passive ventilation system through solar chimneys, and taking tropical climate as an advantage that allows to blur the boundaries between interior and exterior.
– On site inhabitation during the construction by workers and students, fostering an intimate creative environment, promoting social bonding among people of varying classes, generations and backgrounds.
At Dum Yai, the process became more relevant than the result when city students, international instructors, village kids and rural workers shared and learned from each other while working side by side.