Panyaden is a private bilingual school with a Buddhist approach that will accommodate 375 students including 10- 20 percent of local Thai kids funded by scholarships. The students will be the ambassadors to introduce green living into the lives of their communities. In addition to the Thai and native English speaking teachers, they will be supervised by experts in various arts, creativity as well as traditional wisdom such as local agricultural methods, specialists in tropical forest plants, cloth weaving and northern cuisine etc. Panyaden School aims to deliver a holistic education that integrates Buddhist principles and green awareness with the highly regarded, International Primary Curriculum.
In the lush green surroundings of a former fruit orchard, where Thailand’s highest mountains meet the flat rice fields, Panyaden School contracted 24H to design its environmentally friendly school buildings. Located south of the city of Chiang Mai, this 5,000 sqm primary school consists of an informal arrangement of pavilions organized along pathways inspired by the shape of the tropical antler horn fern.
This original design has since evolved organically to its final form which is still in keeping with its original purpose of creating buildings from the earth’s elements and shapes that are an ode to nature’s beauty.
There are two main types of buildings the classroom pavilion type and the sala pavilion type. The classroom pavilion type has load-bearing walls from rammed earth, dividing the building into 3 classrooms. The outer walls are made of adobe. Glass windows framed by recycled local hardwood, while glass bottles and washing machine windows bring natural light into the classrooms. Cupboards and shelves are all integrated in an adobe wall curving around the sanitary block. The curved contours of the bamboo roof structure mirror the mountains at the horizon of the site.
The sala pavilion type is used for common functions such as the assembly hall and the canteen. Columns consist of bamboo bundles reaching up from their stone foundations to the bamboo canopy, giving a feeling of walking through a majestic bamboo forest. Other salas designed and created by the local team (playground, around the swimming pool, Buddha sala etc) resemble birds or leaves. All designs are inspired from elements found in nature and in daily Thai life.
The entire school has been built from local earth and local bamboo that has been naturally treated to withstand the elements. Organic vegetables and rice will be grown on school property. Environmentally friendly waste water treatment and food waste recycling that produces organic fertilizers and biogas for cooking, sum up the picture of an environmentally friendly school with a negligible carbon footprint.