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The winners of Making Space 2010: architecture and design for children and young people

Norway-based architects TYIN tegnestue have designed these beautifully sensitive community projects in undeveloped areas of Thailand.

Three of their designs won them recognition in the conference and competition organised by Children in Scotland: Making Space 2010 - which aimed to promote innovation, creativity and sustainability in design for children and young people aged 0-18.

"They have ambition; they are contextually, climatically and culturally responsive. They are socially supportive and life affirming...and they are also beautiful" (Making Space 2010 judges).

TYIN tegnestue's designs were praised not only for their "outstanding architectural qualities" but for their "completely child-centred approach... which meets the needs of a child within a social and cultural context". Their holistic approach demonstrates how architecture can transform lives without large budgets - with architecture that nurtures, protects, inspires and empowers individuals and communities - respecting the local identity, local human resources and material resources.

Min Buri Old Market Library, Bangkok, Thailand

The Min Buri Old Market Community was once a commercial centre but a fire in the late nineties forced trading across the canal and the community changed from one that was vibrant to one deeply affected by deprivation with many in the community unable to enjoy security of tenure and have limited access to services like health, water, sanitation, housing, education and employment.

The entrance to the library.

The aim of the project was not just to build a library, but to inspire lasting passion in the local community that would contribute towards the future development of the community.

TYIN lived close to the site for five months and got to know the community on a personal level through video-nights, meetings and community workshops where everyone could get involved to help clear the site. “Our presence in the community became natural and fluent, enabling us to understand better what resources the community lacked and what they possessed.”

The project was built inside a 100-year-old market building with all materials sourced close to the site or bought second-hand, and construction work was carried out by the community and volunteers, which helped to ensure a sense of local ownership and pride and empowering the community with an invaluable set of skills.

The Library has now become a community hub for children and adults - with donated books, magazines, board games, a television, computer and other resources. There are several spaces for different activities, including an outdoor shaded reading area, a small quiet reading area, a loft floor and a raised area for computer use.

Safe Haven Orphanage

Safe Haven Orphanage is a home for around 50 orphaned Karen children, part of an ethnic group that lives under persecution from the Burmese state.

The brief was to build a bathhouse and library for the orphanage, with the library open to the wider community - for all local children as a safe environment for doing homework and hosting gatherings.

Again, all materials were sourced locally – the bamboo was cut less than 1km from the site, the bricks and concrete were sourced from a nearby market and the urinals in the bathhouse were made from old tyres.

All of the children at the orphanage at the time of its construction were involved in their own way. The older children helped with construction while the younger children helped to collect materials and tools.

The bathhouse.

Here, the clever (and cheap) use of car tires for the urinals (left) and toilet (right).

Soe Ker Tie House

Here, the goal was to provide a home for 24 persecuted Karen children to help them experience as normal a childhood as possible.

“We wanted every child to have their own private space, a home to live in and a neighbourhood where they could interact and play.”

The six buildings were built entirely by a local workforce, following a set of simple and robust construction principles and using a local bamboo weaving technique. Not only did this provide a vocational training ground for young unemployed men in the village, it will make it easier for the local community to accommodate any future expansion, maintenance and refurbishing work that is required.

The indoor spaces are open and semi-private to make sure the children can invite their friends and visitors into their homes while keeping the most private space of their sleeping area to themselves.

Here you can see the multiple variations and opportunities that the spaces provide - steps for sitting on, ladders, openings, benches, swings and different types of facade/screens between spaces and inside and out.

Here you can see the weaving of the bamboo for the structures facade (left). And on the right stumps provide a play space for the children.

Left - children play on the bamboo swings. Right - different types and uses of bamboo provide many variations of filtered light and moving shadows - creating dynamic and beautiful spatial qualities.

Via TYIN Architects and the Making Space 2010 publication.


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