Safe Haven Library / TYIN Tegnestue


Architects: TYIN Tegnestue
Location: Ban Tha Song Yang,
Project team Professors: Hans Skotte & Sami Rintala
Project team Students: Pasi Aalto. Jan Kristian Borgen, Mari Folven, Ragnhild Førde, Sunniva Vold Huus, Olav Fåsetbru Kildal, Lene M. N. Kværness, Oda Moen Møst, Ørjan Nyheim, Karoline Salomonsen, Anne Sandnes, Ola Sendstad, Kristoffer B. Thørud, Caroline Tjernås, Anders Sellevold Aaseth
Client: Safe Haven Orphanage
Budget: 29.000 NOK (Approx. 4,650 USD)
Project year: January 2009
Sponsors: Norsk Betongforening, Bygg uten grenser, Minera Norge, Spenncon, Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU)
Photographs: Pasi Aalto

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In January 2009 TYIN invited 15 norwegian architect students from NTNU to participate in a workshop at the Safe Haven Orphanage. The workshop was led by Associate Professor Hans Skotte and architect Sami Rintala. The most immediate needs at the orphanage was a library and a new sanitary building. TYIN worked on a bathhouse, together with the Karen workers from Noh Bo, while the workshop participants put their efforts into the library.


The concrete base of the library is cast on a bed of large rocks gathered on-site. Walls made of plastered concrete blocks cools the building during the day, while the open bamboo facade gives a good ventilation. Iron wood makes up the solid frame construction and serves as comfortable floor for the children to play on.

The bookshelves run along the concrete walls in their full height, and the floor is left unfurnished to give room for different activities. The entrance, creates a comfortable buffer between the outdoors and indoors and divides the ground floor into a small computer area on one side and a larger library room on the other.



The most important thing to Tasanee is that her children are provided food and education. In the library the children at Safe Haven Orphanage now have a space to do homework, use a computer with internet and read books written in different languages. The new building has also attained the important role of a gathering space and is frequently used for play, games and crafts.

That NTNU, as an educational institution, contributes to workshops like this is of great importance. It creates a unique opportunity for young, skilled students to engage real problems and make decisions with real consequences.

Cite: "Safe Haven Library / TYIN Tegnestue" 03 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • martin

    PERFECT ! one of the best projects ever presented on this website…

    • Didier

      architecture for the people..raw..amazing…cheap can be beautiful…

  • Dragan

    Ohhhh, so amazing… :D

  • senn

    beautiful!so warm

  • dp

    Honesta, simple, preciosa!!!

  • hanoi

    Nice photos for the beautiful architecture!I like this kind of local architecture.

  • jan

    i iove thailand.
    i am thai.

  • StructureHub Blog

    What is it about arch students that results in great-for-the-money architecture?

    • Alexander

      they have yet to be corrupted by money, and have none to speak of for themselves. :D

  • Scarpasez

    Raw but elegant. Beautiful, contextual, real, focused and vital…everything you want your architecture to be. Bravo, students!

  • Thomas

    Oh gee. The students drew a shed. I bet the kids really care that the “rock for a stair” was taken from the site! Theres not even a raised shelf to place the sandals on. The spiders can just crawl right in. Great!

    • INawe

      Better than someone telling them, “Hey kid… sit on that rock and read a book will ya. I got better things to do than build you a library.”

      You can take your arachnaphobia and leave your comments elsewhere.

      • Thomas

        If the students and architects had donated some money instead, I bet the locals could have built TWO sheds!

        Ill leave my comments here, thank you.

      • INawe


        That may be true but then we would not be here arguing about the architecture.

        Its fine but i think its an elegant solution as opposed to your track housing and bang for your buck development attitude.

  • Clos

    .. el futuro de la arquitectura!.. excelente proyecto..

    • DzetaB

      oh yes in deed…

  • pepech

    Exciting, simple, and most of all TRUE. I’m really impressed.

  • german osorio

    how do you prevent from rain to get to the books trough the bamboo wall??? thats where the books are right???

  • me

    perfect! inspirational! amazing! refreshing!
    this is why im studying architecture…not for the magazines and “fame”

  • james


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  • Pablo

    Excelente, para mi esto es verdadera Arquitectura, lo justo y necesario sin excederse en caprichos formales, materiales, etc.

  • fco jesús

    si MIES lo viese…

  • Juni

    Elegant and lovely. Really well executed.

  • Punjabi

    what so good bout this??? just because it look humble, local context,yada yada yada….doesnt mean its well designed…

    • d

      what’s not good about this????

    • Juni

      Yes this project totally works what is not good about it ?

  • athena

    damn good!

  • patricioj

    I agree martin (number 1 ) says… this proyect is perfect..

  • meen

    i like this!

  • Wargo

    Beautiful design, nice for children

  • laura

    Cuando sólo se crea “arquitectura por arquitectura”, porque entonces sucede que la profesión se queda coja, mutilada; la finalidad de las profesiones, y del estudio en general es crear realmente aportes a la sociedad y responder a las necesidades del ser humano. Excelente proyecto.

  • d

    it’s not easy to think and create in context like this, especially when u’re very common to the extravagant side of architecture. a very good work.. thumbs up..

  • NIM

    I do appreciate the effort of TYIN in being there and helpign the unfortunate marginalised group in the developing world.

    The TYIN’s designs for this village are in general inspirational by the humble characters, interesting details, the use of local materials, interaction with the locals. But like Soe Ker Tie house, the specific concerns on the tropical climate seems not so effective. They should really experiment with any kind of surface as key ideas protecting the burning sun beam and monsoon storm to create more viable transitional spaces.

  • Nico

    Perfect! Beauty low tech proyect, even than any other hi tech…

  • Jóse

    Hermoso… Arquitectura aprovechando los materiales del lugar sin ser pretenciosa. La simpleza del oficio…

  • Igor

    tenia buen rato sin observar un proyecto con tanto significado, vale la pena, felicidades Arq’s.

  • JP from Dallas

    I can see this project as the AIA award of the year.