estudio cavernas builds a thai youth center using sugarcane, eucalyptus and timber
 

estudio cavernas builds a thai youth center using sugarcane, eucalyptus and timber

estudio cavernas is an architecture and construction non-profit organization based in mae sot, on the thai-burma border. this area that hosts a big amount of migrants and refugees that come here trying to flee the longstanding conflict in burma, but then often find themselves living under scarce and unstable conditions. just a few kilometers away from this border, adjacent to a natural reservoir, lies a youth center providing educational services to karen migrant youth.


its triangular structure and cascading vertical gardens provide youth with their own private space to flourish and pursue their educational goals

 

 

estudio cavernas‘ hua fai youth center transgresses conventional designs of such institutions, which maximize utility with little regard for the complex social needs of the youth inhabiting these spaces. the objective of the project was to expand existing facilities to accommodate the increased number of youth accessing education programs in the community. the expansion involved the building of eight sleeping units, a communal open area and washroom for the use of the students. five independent units were built, four of them were divided symmetrically to create eight independent spaces to be used as private rooms, and a fifth unit, a washroom (hygiene facility), houses the showers and toilets.


the objective of the project was to expand existing facilities to accommodate the increased number of youth accessing education programs in the community

 

 

the arrangements were premised upon two main objectives. firstly, to control the amount of sunlight exposed on the roofs and avoid excessive heat inside the cabins. due to the tropical savanna climate of the region, both heavy rains and solar radiation were major concerns when planning for this project. by projecting shadows one into another, the amount of direct sun light is reduced drastically.


due to the tropical savanna climate of the region, both heavy rains and solar radiation were major concerns when planning for this project

 

 

secondly, to create a public space, achieved by orienting the access of the private area into an open space, which acts a gathering area. the arrangement, following a similar spatial design used by karen villagers, encourages interaction among dwellers. the volumetry derives from the original concept of estudio espacial’s ‘casa techo’, an aproach to a solution for emergency housing that states that ‘a roof is a house’. the emergency unit concept was modified to adapt to the permanent nature of this facility, accounting for the environmental and social conditions of this context.


the expansion involved the building of eight sleeping units, a communal open area and washroom for the use of the students

 

 

the roof design borrows elements from local construction found in this area, which maximizes the use locally available materials. the roof is comprised of three layers; an inner layer of aluzinc, screwed to the timber structure to make it impermeable to rain, a middle layer of eucalyptus trunks placed vertically to create ventilation, and an upper layer of sugarcane leaves locally assembled within the community. horizontal floor level openings of fiberglass panels were used to bring light into the ground floor of the rooms.


the volumetry derives from the original concept of estudio espacial’s ‘casa techo’, an aproach to a solution for emergency housing that states that ‘a roof is a house’


the hut at sundown


since it is a wet area, steel profiles were used to form the skeleton, a triple layered roof and concrete block walls which delimitate the four small divisions inside


the roof design borrows elements from local construction found in this area, which maximizes the use locally available materials.


the construction process used combined the professional training of the migrant workers with a deep understanding of conditions on the ground

 

  • Those small units seem like randomly setting on the site,but actually were arraigned in a curve track. Solid volumes are playing with the soft materials, staying low but looks quiet and peaceful. All of these interesting elements reminds me of my childhood time, I can tell it was designed for the kids definitely,I and fits for the local environment. I like it a lot!

    Jim Oliver says:

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