Academy School in Noh Bo

The project began as a two week workshop with participants from Norway and Spain designing and starting the construction of two new classrooms for Academy School in Noh Bo together with Gyaw Gyaw and in close cooperation with Academy school, represented by their headmistress Tharamu Thamla. 


Academyschool in Noh Bo is one of few schools outside of Mae Sot and the refugee-camps who offers supplementary education for migrant children. It`s a well-known and popular school, and students comes from all along the border to learn here.

We were asked to build new classrooms for the highest levels, Special 1 and Special 2, and found it to be a project that we really wanted to do. The school is an important institution on the border, the classrooms were highly needed and designing and constructing them would also leave knowledge about sustainable architecture also outside of our group.

We invited participants from architecture and building business in Norway and Spain for a 2 week workshop “adobe and cultural exchange” to design the building and start the construction together with us. The goal was to create functional classrooms that were chilled, dry and would make the best frames for learning.

It was a copious and educative experience for all parts involved, with a result that answers the schools needs. It is fully approved by teachers and students who points out the temperature, the natural light and the beauty in the adobe as the best parts.


Built and designed by Gyaw Gyaw and workshop participants 2011

10 weeks/300 000B

Gyaw Gyaw Team: Line Ramstad (project manager),Phillipa, Peter, Pah Me, Oo Klo, See Da Pah, Ee Po Pah, Ta Po Kwa, Paw Eh Wah, Koe Taw, Eh Thoo, Pah No, Saw Dee.

Workshop participants: Celin Camilla Fosaskåret/Gunvor Huseby/Ida Hanna Ørnhøy/Audhild Svela/Kristin Hilde/Hilde Stedje/Pernille Heilmann Lien/Johannes Schlenker Bøe/Tore Mo/Gina Michelle Kjønigsen/Mari Heum/Anne Lise Aakervik/Svein Ola Sognli/Petter Buchmann/Hilde Almar-Næss/Marta Casadevall/Marta Miranda/Albert Company Olmo

Pictures by Franc Pallarès López

Two adobe classrooms

The school building is constructed based on traditional timber construction with freestanding adobe walls on a concrete slab. Thick adobe walls, based on locally made mudbricks, keeps the temperature inside each classroom stable. With bamboo sticks as part of the facades, natural airflow and daylight is taken into consideration. One half-wall in each classroom is also made as plywood windows to further regulate airflow and light if needed. The roof is concrete roof plates bought in the local shop, resting on a timber construction.


To arrange a workshop is both a time consuming and a challenging exercise. The benefits of knowledge exchange are a good excuse to still arrange it, but the cross-cultural experience is maybe even more important. Most of the people in Noh Bo, Gyaw Gyaw team included, have never left the border area, and travel both requires money and a passport. When we are in a position to bring some of the outside world inn, that`s easier. There`s also few manners of getting to know each other as well as when you are solving challenges and working together, side by side as equals.

Where the westerners were coming with skills and knowledge in architecture, the Gyaw Gyaw team had all the practical knowledge. To get the two to meet took some time, but after a slow start, the teams merged and it became unforgettable days for everyone involved.

The school also felt seen and included and were good partners, both in the design phase and during construction.

When the car with the participants left Noh Bo after two intensive weeks, it felt empty, but the project we had started together lived on. Gyaw Gyaw finished it based on the plans developed during the workshop, singing Norwegian songs and talking about their new friends, so everyone was almost still there.

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