TYIN Tegnestue adds bamboo bathhouse
to Safe Haven Orphanage in Thailand

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Norwegian architecture studio TYIN Tegnestue has completed a sanitary building for an orphanage in Thailand featuring an angled bamboo facade that provides shelter from the tropical sun (+ slideshow).

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

The bathhouse building is located at the Safe Haven Orphanage, in the town of Ban Tha Song Yang on the border between Thailand and Burma. It was designed by TYIN Tegnestue to provide the orphanage with hygiene facilities including toilets, bathing areas and a laundry.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

"The climate of northern Thailand makes good personal hygiene essential to prevent diseases, especially for small children," said the studio. "With this bathhouse TYIN wanted to create a well-functioning and dignified facility for personal hygiene."

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

Basing the design around an existing wooden framework, the team added two plastered concrete boxes at either end of the building to provide private rooms for the toilets and a shower.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

A corridor connecting the two enclosed spaces is sheltered by the sloping bamboo wall. This is punctured by openings of different sizes, designed to suit the adults and children who use the facility.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

At the centre of the bathhouse is an open platform containing large concrete basins of different heights, which can be used for bathing or washing clothes.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

This decked area extends out towards the nearby teak plantation and provides a partly private environment in keeping with local bathing culture.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

The architects responded to a need for draining both waste water and torrential monsoon rain by bulding the floors of the various spaces from porous materials. Water can drain through gaps in the wooden decking or through layers of stone and gravel used for flooring elsewhere in the bathhouse.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

"The existing sanitary facilities at Safe Haven Orphanage were narrow, dark and had concrete flooring that accumulated water and dirt," the team recalled. "With this bathhouse we have tried alternative solutions that hopefully will be an important asset in the future development in the district."

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

Waste from the toilets is disposed of through piping buried beneath the ground, while urinals located at the rear of the building are produced cheaply from old tyres fixed to plastic pipes.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

Local workers helped to construct the building, which was completed in a period of just over two weeks.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

Photography is by Pasi Aalto.

The following details were provided by the architects:


Safe Haven Bathhouse

The new sanitary building houses the basic needs of the orphanage; the toilets, personal hygiene facilities and laundry. The internal structure was already built and became the framework for the project.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

The most intimate functions are located within the two plastered concrete masses. The central zone contains concrete containers for bathing and opens out towards the vast teak plantation. The bathing area is only partly privatized, adapted to Karen culture. A tilted facade of bamboo covers the front of the building and creates a passageway, connecting the two functions together.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

A huge challenge in this project was the sewage, which has to be dealt with on-site. The drainage system has to be able to cope with large amounts of water during the rainy season. The existing sanitary facilities at Safe Haven Orphanage were narrow, dark and have concrete flooring that accumulated water and dirt.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter

With this bathhouse we have tried alternative solutions that hopefully will be an important asset in the future development in the district. Gravel and wooden floors are easy to keep clean and dry, using layers of stone and gravel drains all wet rooms. The waste from the toilets passes through pipes buried in the ground.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter
Floor plan - click for larger image

The climate of northern Thailand makes good personal hygiene essential to prevent diseases, especially for small children. With this bathhouse TYIN wanted to create well functioning and dignified facility for personal hygiene.

Safe Haven Bathhouse by TYIN Tegnestue Arkitekter
Facilities plan - click for larger image

Location: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
Client: Safe Haven Orphanage
Project: Bathhouse
Cost: 22 500 NOK / 2 979 EUR
Area: 61 m2
Built by: TYIN tegnestue and local workers
Architects: Andreas Grontvedt Gjertsen, Yashar Hanstad

  • Yohana Bako

    It’s amazing and sometimes humbling to see what design can do. Nice simple solution, pragmatic reuse of objects and materials. Really nice!