The P'Yan School Project is a voluntary initiative of international students that financed, planned and finally raised a school building for and with the P'Yan Daung School in Mae Sot, Thailand. The region of Mae Sot, close to the Burmese border, is shaped by the massive immigration of refugees fleeing from ethnic persecution and the consequences of the civil war in their home country. The P'Yan Daung School provides shelter and education for migrant children and gets supported by Help Without Frontiers. Since the number of students increasesthrough the closure of nearby schools, PYD school had the urgent need for more classrooms. Using traditional techniques and local ressources, such as clay, bamboo and 2nd hand wood we provided a low-cost classroom for up to 60 students including an outside space.
We perceive our project as a platform of interaction and cross-cultural exchange with the future users and the team. It is as a chance for discovering the local manner of life and mindset. Hence we did not only work alongside on the construction, but shared leisure time and stories gaining true empathy. The team initiated several clay-workshops with the children to get feedback and ideas on the design of the building and to create an identifiaction with the project. Together we had wheelbarrow races, digged in the mud, practiced math and finally raised the school building within 2 months.
Now the building is accomplished and serves all school children as a place to learn and play. Each team member gained a lot from the project - it meant a vast increase of vocational and personal experience, cross-cultural expertise and a chance to go beyond yourself.
We are an interdisciplinary team of students from Anhalt university in Dessau (Germany) with backgrounds in Architecture and Design. The team members are from different nationalities such as Germany, Indonesia, El Salvador, Iran, Thailand and India. With such a widespread perspective and knowledge, we are able to take its full advantage in every stage of the design and construction process. The head of the team could gain valuable insights and experiences within the former Nepali Project in which a school- and community-center was raised in rural Western Nepal. With two Thai members in the design team, we are able to have a direct and active conversation with the school in Thai language itself and also understand in clarity the situation in climate, politics and architecture in Thailand. The collaboration with agora.architects and HelpWithoutFrontiers who are based in Thailand helps to understand many local situations, the needs and design strategies to be implemented in that region and the school system in that particular area as such.
We believe that our work not only consists of constructing facilities - furthermore we see it as a platform for cross-cultural exchange of knowledge, experiences and skills, as well as a chance for social change. It is a chance for discovering the local manner of life and mindset, as well as exploring specific problems and needs of the community in order to find strategies of interaction. Therefore we aim to raise a building, as much as we intend to overcome the building site borders to tackle local challenges together with the community.
Description: Students build a school and dormitory building in Mae Sot
Design: Manuel Schroeder / Sebastian Schöne
Building status: in use
Construction period: Febr/March 2017
Location: Mae Sot, Thailand
Coordinates: 16°45'32.1'' N, 98°29'30.8'' E
Tags: clay, development cooperation, education, Buildify accelerator, local resources
Project ID: 615
Published: 16 September 2016
Last updated: 17 June 2017
(images have individual licenses)