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Ban Tha Song Yan Library

Ban Tha Song Yan, Thailand
1 of 12

In two weeks during 12.-25.1. 2009 fifteen NTNU Trondheim norwegian architect students designed and built a two storey library building for Safe Haven orphanage in Ban Tha Song Yan village near Burma border. The inhabitants of the orphanage are 42 Karen children of different age.

The workshop was led by Associate Professor Hans Skotte and architect Sami Rintala. The most immediate needs of the orphanage was a library and a new sanitary building.


TYIN tegnestue was the organiser of the project, a non-profit organisation working humanitarian through architecture. TYIN is run by five architect students from NTNU and the projects are financed by more than 60 Norwegian companies, as well as private contributions. Through the course of the last year TYIN has worked with planning and constructing small scale projects in Thailand.

The NTNU, as an educational institution, contributes to workshops like this is of great importance. It creates a unique opportunity for young, skilled students to engage real problems and make decisions with real consequences.


The task was to use local materials and building technics to create a building that would solve the problems of education in the orphanage the best possible way. At the same time, natural ventilation systems and sunshades were studied and introduced into the building. Used material are natural lava stone from the site, concrete bricks, wood and bamboo.

The concrete base of the library was cast onto a bed of large rocks gathered on-site. Walls were made from plastered concrete blocks, cooled the building during the day. While the open bamboo facades provided good ventilation throughout the building. The 'Iron wood' made up the solid frame construction and serves as comfortable floor for the children to play on.

The bookshelves run along the concrete walls in their full height, and the floor is left unfurnished to give room for different activities. The entrance, creates a comfortable buffer between the outdoors and indoors and divides the ground floor into a small computer area on one side and a larger library room on the other.


The most important thing is that her children are provided food and education. In the library the children at Safe Haven Orphanage now have a space to do homework, use a computer with internet and read books written in different languages. The new building has also attained the important role of a gathering space and is frequently used for play, games and crafts.