Moving school by Amadeo Bennetta
and Dan LaRossa for Building Trust

| 8 comments
 

These flat-packed schools have been designed for assembly in Southeast Asia by Californian architects Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa (+ slideshow).

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

Bennetta and LaRossa's project was the winning entry for a competition launched by non-profit charity Building Trust to design a self-assembly educational facility for migrant and refugee communities on the border of Thailand and Burma.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

The buildings are designed to be taken apart and reassembled several times over, and assembly drawings are available for anyone to download from the Building Trust website. These include cutting dimensions for the steel frame and instructions for both prefabricated elements and on-site construction.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

They also lays out tips and suggestions for site preparation, time forecast and how many people each stage will need.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

"The concept of the Moving school project is to provide displaced or informally settled communities with safe, well designed spaces that provide the core functions of both school buildings and community hubs," said Louise Cole, co-founder of Building Trust.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

The structure comprises a prefabricated steel frame, which sits elevated from the ground to minimise flooding.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

The steel frame is covered with a white waterproof fabric and clad in locally crafted bamboo panels to allow light to filter inside.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

The structure features a mono-pitched roof with a veranda, where the user enters the building through sliding bamboo doors.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

The veranda is shaded to the front of the structure by thin bamboo blinds, which hang off the steel frame. A gap between the main roof and the secondary roof allows for passive ventilation.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa

David and Louise Cole co-founded Building Trust in 2010 to support educational and community-based projects in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. For this project they followed the lead of home-assembly furniture specialist Ikea, which previously used its expertise in flat-pack design to redesign refugee shelters.

Here is some more information from Building Trust:


Open source design is all the rage at the moment but has there actually been any evidence that open source sharing has resulted in built projects for poverty stricken communities?

Building Trust recently went one step further in their efforts to make good design accessible to all by following the lead of flat pack furniture specialists IKEA. They have released assembly drawings for their first school building project that supports refugee and migrant communities. The PDF booklet that can be downloaded from their website not only gives the cutting dimensions for the steel frame and instructions for both prefabricated elements and on site construction. It also lays out tips and suggestions for site preparation, time forecast and how many people each stage will need.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa
Primary frame assembly- click for larger image

The MOVING school project was established by Building Trust to create solutions for public and school buildings to serve displaced refugee and migrant communities living on the Thai-Burmese border. The project sparked a design competition which saw the winning design by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa built last year. The building design allowed for the school to be built and disassembled and constructed again many times over responding to the lack in land rights for the displaced Burmese communities.

MOVING school by Amadeo Bennetta and Dan LaRossa
Roof installation assembly- click for larger image

The assembly drawings were originally compiled to provide the school and community with a set of instructions for relocating the completed project. However, the demand from numerous other schools for a similar design has resulted in the assembly drawings pack and an online tool kit. Building trust hope the kit will inspire people to build

  • Building trust team

    Lorenzo, thanks for your comments. The local vernacular architecture for this scale of building is mixed. The durable solutions are traditional teak houses or reinforced concrete frame houses and the less durable, temporary structures are based on bamboo or rubber wood frame with a mixture of timber and bamboo infill material.

    We wanted to focus on durable solutions and due to the nature of the project and client, needed to look at relocatable options based on a frame solution. Teak is available even though logging has been outlawed in Thailand due to the devastating events of deforestation. The precious wood is smuggled over the border from Burma and the other source of teak is in the reclaimed wood yards, which are stocked through the dismantling of low income villagers houses in return for cash – hardly a sustainable solution and an industry that we did not want to further support. Steel provided a long term solution that is readily available in South East Asia and is cheaper than reclaimed teak. It is important to note that the design is not entirely foreign by any means, the design takes on traditional vernacular elements in its raised floor to protect it from flooding and create a cool undercurrent, a high roof to increase air flow and regulate internal temperatures. The use of split bamboo blinds and walls supports both local crafts and is more than a nod to traditional architecture in the region as it also allowed local community members to be involved with the build and determine the overall appearance. The overhanging eaves and central courtyard are all common to the area. The roof is an advancement on the tin or thatch palm increasing the life span by up to 5 times. It is quieter in the rain, keeps the space cooler and does not allow insects to nest with in it (a key concern for teachers at the school). We used a clapping system only seen in advertising hoardings to clip the fabric in place which allows for multiple installations and does not require pretension of the fabric off site. That said, we did engineer the roof to allow for multiple finishes if material can not be sourced, or indeed if additional units are added to the school to increase capacity. We have carried out projects in the region using adobe and bamboo as principle materials but in this scenario we felt other materials offered the best solution. I hope this goes some way to answering your questions and don’t hesitate to join our Facebook page and let us know if you have any further queries.

  • Building trust team

    The building’s design allows for the building to be quickly de-constructed and moved. Bricks are not the easiest things to take down and rebuild again rapidly, although we do take on your point that teaching building skills is important and is something that we do on all our builds!

    • http://www.Apprentice-Ship.com/ Samuel-James Wilson

      Agreed this will increase construction time and I fully understand your reasoning.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment.

      If you have the chance, take a look at my Blog. I am one day hoping to do just this and assist people in need to build a homes.

      http://www.Apprentice-Ship.com

  • Emmett

    Would love to see all of the parts packed up before building in order to see how easy shipping would be.

  • Will

    This is a great project. It would be very interesting to see it used in parts of Asia prone to flooding such as the coast of the Philippines, perhaps combined with floating elements.

    Obviously the design has taken flooding into consideration with it being raised, however with slight adaptation a different model could be designed to further add to the cause. Either way, amazing project.

    • Building trust team

      We are looking at building a MOVING school project in Sierra Leone in an area prone to flooding and would be happy to look at other sites if people are interested get in touch : )

  • rui pedro

    Great project. I’m just not so sure about the steel structure. Why not wood? Even so, very nice!

    • Building trust team

      We wanted to focus on durable solutions and due to the nature of the project and client, needed to look at relocatable options based on a frame solution.

      Teak is available even though logging has been outlawed in Thailand due to the devastating events of deforestation. The precious wood is smuggled over the border from Burma and the other source of teak is in the reclaimed wood yards, which are stocked through the dismantling of low income villagers houses in return for cash – hardly a sustainable solution and an industry that we did not want to further support.

      Steel provided a long term solution that is readily available in South East Asia and is cheaper than reclaimed teak. It is important to note that the design is not entirely foreign by any means, the design takes on traditional vernacular elements in its raised floor to protect it from flooding and create a cool undercurrent, a high roof to increase air flow and regulate internal temperatures.

      The use of split bamboo blinds and walls supports both local crafts and is more than a nod to traditional architecture in the region as it also allowed local community members to be involved with the build and determine the overall appearance.