Project Description

Three classrooms and a teachers house for Kle Mo Kee Primaryschool


Client: Kle Mo Kee Primaryschool and Kle Mo Kee village
Design: Jae-Young Lee, Daniel Evensen and Line Ramstad
Project manager: Paw Eh Wah
Team: See Da Pah (leader of building site), Phillipa, Pah Me, Kee Kee Pah, Saw Dee, Pah Da, Phaw Reh Mo, Bee Bee.
Villagers have contributed with labor
Project period: 2019 – 2021
Square meters: Classrooms 3 x 42 m² + Teacher house 2 x 66 m²
Costs: 3 Classrooms 368 905 THB (108 692 NOK) average 123 000 THB (36 000 NOK) pr building. Teacherhouse 371 867 THB (111 709 NOK)

Classroom: Traditional Karen building structure with timber posts, turned inside-out and strengthened with concrete shoes and diagonals in the building structure. Walls and windows wood panels with gaps for airflow. Tin roof is the only material imported from the nearby town for increased functionality, extended longevity and decreased need for maintenance.

Teacherhouse: Traditional Karen building structure with timber posts and diagonals included in the building structure. Walls and windows are made in wood panels used in a variety of directions for airflow and natural light inside without allowing the sun to heat. The house are covered with a tinrof like the classrooms. First floor also consist of a toilet with concrete floor and brick walls. 

Project description:

Kle Mo Kee Primaryschool is one of three schools in the area run by Teacher Training College (TTC). They are following Karen Education Departments curriculum, but in addition, they focus on learning conditions, understanding and development of students, also as individuals. Unfortunately rote memorization; where the students bluntly repeat after the teacher, is the norm along the border and the result seems to be a few good students, and a larger amount of students passing through without that much actually learned. TTC schools are therefor unique schools in our area, and thanks to a smart and openminded village leader, Kle Mo Kee was the first to completely shift to their standards. 

With educated teachers and a school philosophy based on actual learning, the atmosphere at Kle Mo Kee Primary school is very different than in neighboring KED run schools. This seems to affect the village too and compared to other villages in the area, the village has gone through a more sustainable development and seems more healthy and well run. The school’s good reputation has naturally also led to more students from a larger area attending school here, and their need for more classrooms was clear, so we were happy to collaborate with them. 

Kle Mo Kee Village leader in front of his house with the school property behind


After the initial research period, we had the first official meeting on site during our workshop in February 2018. In addition to the team and architects, our board was also present. Together with the team and villagers, agreements were clarified and the needs explained for Jae, Daniel and Line to further develop into design.

Where honest feedbacks are seen as more of a compliment in the west, the whole aspect of not losing face in the East, makes this process a lot more complicated on the border. This is where Paw Eh Wah plays an important role as translator. Not only between languages, but also between cultures. Still, things get lost in translation, but with humor and mutual respect, the issues are always quickly solved.

A big step implemented on this project was to get Phaw Reh Mo in our team. She is a trained teacher and is helping out with communication on site, internally and bewteen Gyaw Gyaw and the villagers. She reports back to Paw Eh Wah who again contacts Line and the architects when needed, and she is also training the teachers while the rest is building. She also buy food and cook, and her deliceous meals, made out of what she can get on site, are famous far outside of our team. 


Meeting with the villageleader in February 2019 officially started the project. Daniel, Jae and Line then designed one classroom each based on a common principle and in close cooperation with the team in Noh Bo that implemented it. Jae also designed the last phase, a house for teachers, completed in 2021. All implemented under great leadership of Paw Eh Wah.


Three independent classrooms were designed based on a common design principle, anchored in traditional building style and adjusted to the pavilions already on site, but turned inside out. 

To be honest about how the building is actually made was an appealing thought. It also left the interior with more useful wall surfaces. It was also a goal to decrease the amount of timber needed, but at the same time further strengthen the construction with diagonals. The roof angle, main structure, materials used and overall shape and scale, is still similar to the pavilions already there.