A new village school in rural Cambodia, designed and built pro-bono by Weston Williamson + Partners officially opened on International Children's Day, June 1 2017. WW+P worked with engineers Engenuiti, Integration and Building Trust International to produce an innovative design which pushes the boundaries of what can be built sustainably and cost-effectively in rural Cambodia.
The cross section and orientation of the school building responds to the local environmental requirements, with the distinctive roof form incorporating overhanging verandas providing solar shading to the classroom walls and a shaded area for smaller informal classes. The zinc roof incorporates a 'top hat' to the roof ridge, which combined with lower level wall openings, promotes the circulation of air within the classrooms and lets in light. The library opens onto an external covered area offering another flexible space.
Locally available materials have been used throughout, and the setting-out of the building has a direct relationship to the distinctive red clay brick module of the region, with its four one inch holes in the centre maximising cross ventilation.
Our new building sits at the edge of Khyaung village, where the school compound meets the vast open expanse of paddy fields. Doors and windows are painted a fresh green referencing the young rice plant shoots and complimenting the rich red brick wall panels as the landscape blends with the village boundary. Primary colours are painted on the doors to identify each classroom, only becoming visible when the school is opened up at sunrise each morning.