Safe Haven Bath house / TYIN Tegnestue


Architects: TYIN Tegnestue
Location: Ban Tha Song Yang,
Project team: Andreas Grøntvedt Gjertsen, Yashar Hanstad
Client: Safe Haven Orphanage
Budget: 22.500 NOK (Approx. 3,300 USD)
Project year: January 2009
Photographs: Pasi Aalto

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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.The new bathhouse covers basic needs like toilets, personal hygiene and laundry. A simple structure was already built and became the framework for the project.


Project Description

The most intimate functions are located in the two separate parts of plastered concrete blocks. In the central area you find a space for bathing that opens up towards the vast teak plantation. The bathing area is only partly privatized, adapted to Karen culture. A tilted facade of bamboo covers the front of the building and creates a passage, tying the functions together.


A great challenge in this project is that sewage and drainage had to be dealt with on-site and handle large amounts of water during the rainy season. The waste from the toilets passes through pipes into buried. Concrete tanks that are drained from the bottom and sides. Gravel and wooden floors are easy to keep clean and dry, and all wet rooms are drained by using layers of stone and gravel.

The existing sanitary facilities at Safe Haven Orphanage, as well in the district in general, are narrow, dark and have concrete flooring that accumulates water and dirt. With this bathhouse we have tried alternative solutions that hopefully will be an important asset in the future development in the district. The climate of northern Thailand makes good personal hygiene essential to prevent diseases, especially for small children. With this bathhouse TYIN wanted to create well functioning and dignified facility for personal hygiene.

Cite: "Safe Haven Bath house / TYIN Tegnestue" 17 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • tchouah

    TYIN rules

  • Julio Fernandez

    I like!

  • sullka


    Love this project, those urinals are genius!

    Pretty resourceful, this has to be the most ‘green’ project ever, not only arch. but for everything it encompasses.

    LEED learn from this.

    Paraphrasing Murcutt : “any technological solution, to an environmental problem, is a wrong solution”

  • Andrew

    68,000 NOK is 10,652 U.S. dollars!

    • Nico Saieh


      You’re right! That was my mistake, it’s 22,500 NOK.
      Sorry about that

  • INawe


  • Richie

    This is admirable, good work guys.

  • http:/ breeree

    Well said sullka.
    A great project, hopefully we see more like this here!

  • corian

    it is good

  • sirisha bysani

    good one

  • elver

    common sense at its best!

  • PlaceAndBeing

    how resourceful! especially like the natural light spilling in through bamboo shades. the project is efficient and effective.

  • dtdayan

    everything simple and makes sense. Unlike the wasteful forms by libeskind.

  • Ling

    How’s interesting?

    Are you admired because this is a cool architecture or something which build by someone in the sympathetic place?

    • PlaceAndBeing

      sympathetic place? i am just curious of what you see in architecture in general because you sound skeptical of a truly useful building. how often do you see projects that honestly respond to the necessities of people and place with respectable balance between economical, social, and sustainable values? besides i think this project has great spatial quality with no waste of form, meaning and materials. we need more architects that design as a way of problem solving. unlike libeskind’s buildings that are good for nothing.. you can call it art, you can call it innovation, but you have to agree that its not the best way to spend money

  • Santiago

    Is a big project. They works with the mind and the children are smiling.


  • JP from Dallas

    Good job guys…

  • Mario Estay

    …and good idea guys….this is admirable work …

  • Paulo

    Keep on doing great projects! Congratulations!

  • 1GR3

    i think that compost toilets would be much healthier solution then wasting water on prolonging a life of fecal bacteria…

    • CJCM

      I agree, composting would be ideal but it has its challenges too.

      Compost toilets would be feasible if there is a dedicated person who takes the time to do the composting work (which is quite demanding).

      I assume in this orphanage there is already plenty of work taking care of lots of children, feeding, washing, educating them, etc,etc. Adding the extra task of composting would add a cost that does not compensate for the benefits.

      Besides, if composting is not done correctly, in a humid weather like Thailand’s it could increase diseases that could be lethal among young children.

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  • ben

    don’t understand the way of cleaning the sew water.
    And why to combine it with rainwater drainage?
    Any explain for these?

    Thanks a lot

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  • CJCM


    This is a real sustainable building, unlike anything you have done.

    Get off your pedestal and learn from these guys.

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