Workshop project at STTC School to encourage students to design and build their own school
STTC is the only technical vocational school in the Thai-Burmese border area. In the 2012-2013 school year there are 38 students and 5 teachers. STTC was started for migrant youth who were keen on improving their science skills but could not afford to attend university. Their slogan is “Better Technology,Better Life.”STTC aims to empower migrant youth and develop their employability. It offersa 2-year program that teaches theoretical and practical skills. The program curriculum includes 4 major subjects (Mechanical Engineering,Electrical Power, Machine Tools,and Welding), and offers classes on driving, and Thai language.Students live in dormitories next door to the school. Most of the teachers are from the Burmese migrant community and work as professional engineers.
The STTC had to move to another building in February 2014. It has a very provisional character and the current use of the building was improvised to avoid discontinuity in school teaching. The existing structure only covers the basic needs of STTC students and teachers. The existing roof does not guarantee protection from rain, thes pace is not used to its full capacity. There are temporary bedrooms for the boys right by the entrance, the girls bedroom is next to the workshop where maschines are being used. Apart from the need of storage, computer and teaching rooms, they also need private lockable bedrooms. Not only does the centre acommodate learning spaces but also spaces for recreation. The students are in need of healthy spaces guaranteeing a good learning and living environment since they spend most of their time inside the compound.
A.gor.a architects have encouraged sttc studentsto get involved in the design processof the new STTC-learning centre.Different workshops were held for the students to design their own learning centre.In the first step, measurement and technical drawing of the existing building took place.In the second step the students identified their needs and defined spaces and their dimensions.The size of every room ( kitchen, dining,sleeping...) was determined by the indiviualuse and furniture.With these fixed spaces in mind and onpaper, the layout of the future building took shape in the workshop.
The students developed a sense of public and more private spaces and how they can be arranged on the plot . By analysing the current use and movement inside the existing space, the students discovered opportunities for improvement.Also the existing structures like columns and the concrete slab was incorporated into the design.This was achieved by model making and discussionsin groups.The final design was a group effort of the sttc students and a.gor.a architects. Not only are new improved spaces needed but alsoa new roof structure that provides a better rain and sun protection. For the new roof design models were built to enable a discussion on different options.
The new design achieves to make use of the whole plot and to reuse most parts ofthe old structure . The private rooms have an appropriate size, the learning areas are more flexible in use. The now more openbuilding structure generates a better useof the existing space. It manages to define spaces like the entrance area. Recreation spaces and a fluent circulation throughout the building is established by making useof the whole site and therefore integrating unused space into the building.There are private bedrooms and seperate bathrooms.The private areas are located in the back ofthe plot, whereas the front acts as a welcoming/ learning area. The centre of the building contains the kitchen and dining area.Each area is connected to outside spaces,sunlight and ventilation.