TYIN tegnestue is a non-profit organization working humanitarian through architecture. TYIN is run by five architect students from NTNU and the projects are financed by more than 60 Norwegian companies, as well as private contributions.
"Through the course of the last year TYIN has worked with planning and constructing small scale projects in Thailand. We aim to build strategic projects that can improve the lives for people in difficult situations. Through extensive collaboration with locals, and mutual learning, we hope that our projects can have an impact beyond the physical structures."
Soe Ker Tie (Butterfly) Houses is a small part of the result of that year.
In the fall of 2008 TYIN travelled to Noh Bo, a small village on the Thai-Burmese border. The majority of the inhabitants are Karen refugees, many of them children. These were the people they wanted to work for.
A few months prior they came in touch with Ole Jørgen Edna from Levanger, Norway. Edna started his orphanage in Noh Bo in 2006, and was now in need of more dormitories. From sheltering 24 children, the orphanage would grow to house almost 50.
As Normal as Possible
The main driving force behind the project was to somehow recreate what these children would have experienced in a more normal situation. Every child should have their own private space, a home to live in and a neighborhood where they could interact and play. These six sleeping units are TYIN's answer to this.
Because of their appearances the buildings were named Soe Ker Tie Hias by the workers; The Butterfly Houses. The bamboo weaving technique used on the side and back facades is the same used in local houses and crafts. Most of the bamboo is harvested within a few kilometers of the site. The special roof shape of the Soe Ker Tie Houses enables an effective, natural ventilation, at the same time as it collects the rain water. This renders the areas around the buildings more useful during the rainy season, and gives the possibility of collecting the water in drier periods.
Timber and Bamboo Construction
The iron wood construction is prefabricated and assembled on-site, using bolts to ensure reasonable precision and strength. Most of the materials is delivered by the Karen National Union on the Burmese side, and this dependency on tropic timber has led to a line of difficult and complex problems to be addressed.
Raising the Buildings
By raising the buildings from the ground, on four foundations cast in old tires, problems with moisture and rot in the construction are prevented.
Architecture Makes a Difference
After a six month long mutual learning process with the locals in Noh Bo TYIN hope that they have left something useful behind. Important principles like bracing, material economization and moisture prevention may possibly lead to a more sustainable building tradition in the future.
While this is a departure from the typical homes we feature on Lunchbox Architect, it's important to feature projects like this. Here is a physical example that architecture and design can genuinely help people. Our environment matters. We can only hope that the special new environment at this orphanage will help these children live more safe, private and happy lives.