At the heart of a municipal waste centre, home to 400 Burmese migrants, lies an island of green and a site where space, power and identity collide. Faced with decades of structural inequality which have denied them access to social and economic opportunities, the migrants in this community have sought refuge in Mae Sot, Thailand where they collect plastic for a nominal profit. For two years, Estudio Cavernas has trained members of this community, utilizing a holistic approach to capacity development in which workers are trained in sustainable construction techniques sourcing local materials for the development of their own communities.
▼项目场地俯瞰，aerial view ©Denis Amirtharaj
Located at the core of the settlement, the Green Island provides a centrally located, accessible, and safe space where children can learn and play together. Premised on the formative power of physical space, the Island is designed to create multiple opportunities to fulfil children’s social, physical, and cognitive needs.
▼绿岛社区中心，the Green Island ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼可供儿童学习和玩耍的活动空间，an activity space for children to study and play ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼设计团队将建筑抬高以避免雨水对结构的破坏，raised the building to prevent rain from damaging the structure ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼可供孩子们逗留玩耍的斜坡台阶，a ramp where children can linger and play ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼看台， stand ©Denis Amirtharaj
Given the extreme weather conditions in the area, the southwest face of the centre is surrounded by protective teak trees which shield it from rain and sun. Prone to heavy rainfall during monsoon season, the building is elevated to avoid water damage to the structure and a low-cost French drainage system is constructed to mitigate flooding. A large opening on three sides of the building provides cross ventilation and natural light. Reclaimed timber was used for the structure and flooring and locally assembled sugarcane thatch for the roof. An inner layer of aluzinc was added beneath the thatch with a middle layer of vertically placed eucalyptus to create an air chamber to avoid excessive radiation from the roof.
▼建筑平面，plan © Estudio Cavernas
▼屋顶结构分析图，structural analysis of the roof © Estudio Cavernas
▼建筑框架，the structure ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼屋顶建造过程，building process ©Denis Amirtharaj
At the focal point of the island is a community centre that doubles as a classroom. An open learning environment with varying degrees of enclosure to support different learning conditions. Flexible open spaces allow for greater scope for movement and encourage interaction and collaboration. When needed, the main interior space can be divided by the use of a mobile partition, a bookshelf with an attached whiteboard, allowing the space to be used simultaneously by different groups.
▼内部空间概览，interior overview ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼可移动的白板隔断，movable white board partition ©Denis Amirtharaj
Adjacent to the community centre is a football field lined with bleachers. Students can transition seamlessly into outdoor recreational spaces via an access ramp which provides extra space for children to congregate and rest between activities. Sports equipment is stored under the side platforms which can be accessed from the ground. Incorporated throughout the outdoor area are different learning units including musical instruments, climbing apparatus and a food garden to encourage learning everywhere. The food garden, an enclosed area hosting vegetable and fruit trees, provides fresh produce for the community and serves as an open classroom where children are taught the basic principles of permaculture.
▼足球场，a football field ©Denis Amirtharaj
Since its construction, twenty families have built their homes around the Green Island reinforcing the original concept of local ownership and belonging. The Green Island has taken on a symbolic meaning for the community who are united through a central space that represents the community’s identity and shared vision for their own development.
▼夜幕时分，at night ©Denis Amirtharaj
▼立面图，elevation © Estudio Cavernas
▼剖面图，sections © Estudio Cavernas
Area：Intervention-1590sq.m.; Community Center-57sq.m.
Location：Mae Pa, Tak, Thailand
Architects：Juan Cuevas, Yago Cuevas, Denis Amirtharaj
Funded by：Playonside Org., Estudio Cavernas, Siemens Gamesa
Collaborators：Les frères Molcard
More: Estudio Cavernas