Grace Garden Sustainable Living and Learning Center

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”.



Border Green Energy Team (BGET) bought a land in Noh Bo to create a “sustainable living and learning centre” based on their organisation. Gyaw Gyaw was asked to design and build the first part, an education center. The project was supported by UNESCO through BGET.

The framework was a building that could host from 0 to 50 people in vocational training. It was therefore essential to make a flexible building, both in terms of function and use. It would also have to deal with a rather rough treatment so it should also be easy to maintenance. Since BGET also work in a sustainable direction, adobe was the preferred material and Gyaw Gyaw`s focus on function, adjustment to the landscape and natural light and airflow was in their interest as well.

The education center contains of a classrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, storage for food, storage for materials, a computer room, library and a veranda. All under one roof, following the declining landscape, and adjusted to the sun directions. 

To have more actors in the field of a sustainable development and focus on environment in the village, was most welcome. Unfortunately the further use of the project did not develop as intended, but the buildings are still there and still beautiful. For us this is another good example showing how important the local community is when it comes to local development. 



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.

Worksop participants on a ten days workshop in February 2013: 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 (from Asplan Viak). Rudi Pedersen (from HENT). Daniel Evensen & Trond Bjarne Pettersen (Stud.NTNU). Siri Koldaas & Johnny Boye Bush (Private)

Pictures by Franc Pallarès López

Grace Garden: Education Center

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.

9 weeks/231 793 THB

Grace Garden: Dormitory

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



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