Happy Chandara Boarding School
Phnom Penh, Completion schedule 2021
Boarding school - 21 rooms
The boarding school for the NGO Happy Chandara / Toutes à l’école who permits young girl to access education blends a robust concrete skeleton with a light and organic bamboo skin, protecting the inside from the harsh tropical sun.
The new buildings respond to the existing built structures in order to generate the right public spaces for the students to interact. The main volume is of similar massing as the first boarding school, positioned in a way to define a common courtyard and a main planted alleyway which organizes the campus on a north south axis and gives a green atmosphere from the entrance.
A high and open ground floor is made for students’ socialization under the shade and links the main courtyard with a more recessed courtyard is kept for the future kinder garden towards the neighbor, and at the south west corner a parking placed away from the view from the main spaces. A smaller pavilion in relationship with the permaculture garden at the north offers a multifunctional space overlooking the greenery. It will be made to be dismantled easily in the future and replaced with kinder garden and permaculture school on 3 levels.
The building is designed with sustainability as main criteria, a concrete skeleton chosen for its robustness is dressed with a bamboo envelop which acts as a filter.
The building is made as transparent and porous as possible to prioritize natural ventilation and also to make visible the uses inside from the courtyard and develop social life on the campus. On the upper floor the bamboo envelop allow for natural ventilation while providing intimacy for the students.
The bamboo is a material which is underused in South East Asia where it is widely available but serves mostly to make scaffoldings for small scale building. We were inspired by the tridimensional façade it is can create thus expending virtually the interior space and offering protection from the hard Eastern and Western sun. The addition of planters with automatic irrigation will soften the concrete giving it a warmer aspect.
Flexibility was key in this project as the needs from the NGO are revolving very fast and the pressure from escalating land prices in the capital force building to be taller and more efficient, hence the simple beam and columns structure. The stairs and the shared bathrooms needed are place on two opposite corners for ease of distribution and to free the internal space. While the Eastern side which will be cooler will host the bedrooms / dormitories the Western side will be kept for the common area with a beautiful view over the sunset and the horizon. The common area mixes various study areas with more informal areas such as an amphitheater which links the two floors and serve as a social hub. The bedrooms are designed for 6 students and full height sliding openings are foreseen on both side for maximum openness and light. The same principle is repeated on each floor.
Antoine Meinnel / Bloom Architecture Co. Ltd.
Team: Antoine Meinnel, Robin Léonard, Mao Menchhorng, Heng Thanak,