Grace Garden Sustainable Living and Learning Center

Background and process

Grace Garden Sustainable Learning center is an initiative from the organization BGET to “bring renewable energy & sustainable technologies to refugee, minority & rural communities along the Thailand-Burma border”.

Gyaw Gyaw was asked to design and build an education center for BGET`s activities on their land in Noh Bo.

The trainings and number of participants will vary through the year, so will the background of their students and the length of their stays. It was therefore essential to make a flexible building, both in terms of function and use. It is expected to handle from one to 50 participants in vocational training so it has to deal with a rather rough treatment as well and be easy to maintenance.

During the first phase we also arranged a workshop with participants from our sponsor companies and friends. They are all architects, engineers or with other construction experience and contributed on a two week design and build workshop on the education center. Workshop participants: Asplan Viak: Bente Haukeland Næss, Inga McCarley Potter, Anne Margrethe Lia, Sigrid Stokke, Per Ingvald Kraft, Marius Frøvig Schneider, Anongnat Nak-in Amundsen, Endre Sten Nilsen, Alexander Marini, Mette Skarpaas. HENT: Rudi Pedersen. Stud.NTNU: Daniel Evensen, Trond Bjarne Pettersen. Priv: Siri Koldaas/ Johnny Boye Bush


Built and designed by Gyaw Gyaw 2013/2014 for BGET organisation with support from UNESCO and Gyaw Gyaw.

Total costs 820 221 THB

Gyaw Gyaw Team: Line Ramstad (project manager/architect), Peter, Phillipa, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Ta Po Kwa, Ee Po Pah, Oo Klo, Saw Dee, Paw Eh Wah.

In cooperation with BGET: Salinee Tavaranan, Nick Powers, Salai Jobson Chin, Kara Bennet and Ponchai, with design feedbacks from Agora Architects and Worksop participants on a ten days workshop in February 2013.

Pictures by Franc Pallarès López


The building is following the inclining landscape, tilting towards east, facing the valley and main wind direction from northeast. Three load bearing adobe ellipses are placed in each their level. They are holding the light insulated steel roof and dividing the building in three departments. A kitchen and storageon the smallest, west facing top level, a secondary classroom/eating space and computer room in the middle and main classroom with library on the lowest level facing east. A freestanding timber veranda is ending the building, creating a nice hangout area with a beautiful view towards the valley.

The north façade is a transparent bamboo wall, made out of bamboo sticks that allows light and air in, but protects against rain. South façade is thick adobe walls with windows for airflow. Some of them are open, while the lower and bigger ones are timber frames with traditional braided bamboo plates that can be opened and closed to adjust the air/light inside.


Adjacent to the learningcenter that was completed in 2013, Gyaw Gyaw also got contracted to design and construct phase II: dormitory for 20 students.

The dormitories are built of load-bearing adobe walls on a concrete slab. The building follows the sloped landscape and has stairs that cascade down towards an inner garden that lies in-between the two buildings. The back wall is curved, creating a rather closed back towards the sun and the outer garden. In front, bamboo walls divide the rooms and the stairs. The stairs also function as a hangout area, fully shaded by the overhanging roof. Windows and doors are based on the same principles as the doors in Grace Garden, phase I, traditional plaited bamboo techniques, framed and used in the same way.

Education Center
25 weeks/588 428 THB

9 weeks/231 793 THB


Thick adobe wall on the south facing facade keeps temperatures low.


South facing facade with bamboo plaited windows


The Education center follows the declining landscape with a kitchen on the top, eating room/secondary classroom in the middle, main classroom at the lowest part, and a freestanding veranda with a beautiful west facing view of the valley.


The veranda


Education Center`s north facing facade is transparent with bamboo sticks for airflow and natural light. Left the dormitory.


View from the dormitory towards the education center


Dormitory: Semiprivate area between the rooms and the garden. Concrete stairs following the declining landscape making a natural hangout space for students, staff and visitors.

Transparent north facing bamboo wall at night. The load bearing adobe circles are closed rooms for storage, computer and library.

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