Child’s Drawing Comes to Life as Floating Thai School

A young Thai student drew a picture of an ark that ‘soars in the sky’, and it turned out to be the ideal inspiration for a school made of natural materials that can withstand flooding. Japanese architect Kikuma Watanabe helped turn that drawing into a reality in Sangkhlaburi Village, Thailand.

Students in this poor village on the border of Myanmar were asked to design their dream school. The chosen drawing was adapted into two main architectural components, with round ‘earth bag’ volumes at the base supporting a floating steel and bamboo structure.

The lower volumes act as a prayer dome and classroom, while the upper level is a Buddhist room and learning area. The breeze coming through the thatched roof is meant to give the feeling of being on a ship.

The project uses local and sustainable materials including the earth that’s packed in the bags making up the basis of the lower volumes, the bamboo and the grass for the roof.


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