Phirun Proiprai Dormitory in Thailand

In the midst of the mountains of Ta Song Yang district, Tak Province, on the Burmese-Thai border, stands a branch of the Baan Nhong Bua School. For over a decade, the branch school has been providing education for ethnic children living in the area. However, as the branch school is located nearly ten kilometres away from the surrounding villages, traveling daily to school proves to be a near impossible task for the children, so many have simply chosen to abandon their education.

(Photo credit: Rural Development Workshop)

(Photo credit: Rural Development Workshop)

Today, only around 70 students – ranging from kindergarten to primary levels – attend the branch school. To offer a better access to education for these ethnic children, the school came up with a simple solution: to build a small dormitory to accommodate those who cannot make the daily commute. The Volunteers for Rural Development Camp from the Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University was given the opportunity to design this 20-person dormitory for the school.

(Photo credit: Rural Development Workshop)

The Phirun Proiprai Dormitory is a 3.35×9.6 metres dormitory, with two 1.2 meters cantilevered balconies. The floor is raised two meters above the ground, leaving the space underneath for extra usage. The dormitory is a combination of three structural systems that were chosen according to constructional conditions: wood, concrete, and metal. Prefabricated concrete slabs were used for flooring. Experimenting with local materials, volunteers used bamboo wood to construct the dormitory walls. 

(Photo credit: Rural Development Workshop)

The Phirun Proiprai Dormitory was built with the hope to provide children of an ethnic minority in the area better access to education, and to serve as an arena wherein volunteers can learn invaluable lessons outside the confines of a classroom.