On May 5th, 2014, a strong earthquake of 6.3 Richter struck Chiang Rai Province in the North of Thailand, destroying 73 schools affecting over two thousand students. Through the initiation of a non-profit network named Design for Disasters (D4D), a post-disaster recovery program was launched to design and build 9 new earthquake resistant school buildings in the most affected areas. Nine emerging Thai architects were assigned to design new school buildings, one for each school.
The Engineering Institute of Thailand and The Consulting Engineers Association of Thailand provided the engineering support. Thai Contractors Association linked the team to construction companies while the Association of Siamese Architects assisted in providing technical support and gathered public donation in the form of funding and construction materials through its network.
Baan Nong Bua School, the local school which provides the element education for the children whose age ranged from 5 to 10 years old, has also been affected by this natural disaster.
The school’s building which was damaged is considered to possess the same standard and pattern with other schools in Thailand; however, this pattern does not brace for the severe natural disasters. Due to the dilapidation of the building, the students were beseeched to study in the temporary pavilion which is not suitable for learning. Nevertheless, the school had not received enough budgets to cope with this circumstance; consequently, the possibility for the new building seems to be faint.
The school has requested for 4 classrooms with the utility space of 48 square meters; moreover, the central space is also required so the children can have their activity space. Additionally, the modular of the donated material utilization in the dry construction process is ideally managed in order to avoid the construction remainders.
The structure of the building is mainly made by steel according to the principal condition that we had proposed since the steel structure would represent the flexible skeletal frame and this unrigid structure can also absorb the vibration when earthquakes occur. Besides, the steel structure can be constructed facilely and promptly in rural areas.
The walls of the building are composed of the modular system of wood cement boards which are widely available and handy. These wood cement boards can be used in constructing the walls as well as the shelves; therefore, the number of the construction remainders are subsequently decreased. However, the most significant concept is the developable design for the real users; students and teachers.
For years to come, the users can adjust the functions according to their own demand; for instance, the classrooms can be integrated by the diminution of the partitions between 2 floors or the restoration of the building’s surface by using local material such as bamboo in order to facilitate the process of quality control; moreover, bamboo also has the flexibility which is suitable in case of earthquakes. Besides, the utilization of bamboo in the restoration of the building’s surface is facile for the calculation, transportation, and construction.
The building is designed to correspond with the weather condition of the northern part of Thailand which allows the circulation of natural air, and the penetration of natural light into the building. The characteristics of the building are required to be thin and light. Besides, the building is demanded to have pavilion-like appearance in correspondence with the rural architecture in which the ceiling is elevated in order to allow the natural light to penetrate through the classrooms during daytime, the air can freely circulate, the humidity in the rooms is reduced and the floor is also elevated in case of flooding.
Furthermore, there is also a space for keeping the shoes according to Thai culture which requires the guests to take off their shoes before entering the main building. The Veranda, thus, is the semi indoor-outdoor space which is appropriated for Thai culture and weather condition. The extended eaves can be provided as the weather shield; however, the air can also pass through the building facilely. Additionally, the number of the pillars and other components has also been diminished since the building is constructed by using the benevolence.
Finally, this education building is the architecture which is constructed through the cooperation of every folks in the locality; therefore, no one is in charge of possessing this building since it is the outcome of all locals’ spirit. Eventually, Baan Nong Bua Pordee Pordee School Project is considered to be the model of the public building which is appropriated for the current circumstance of Thailand; it is good to be sufficient, Pordee Pordee.