Winner spotlight: Khyaung School

Jo Smit
Wednesday 28 Nov 2018

Weston Williamson’s design for a village school in Cambodia creates an inspirational learning environment that is also, of necessity, cost effective, low maintenance and sustainable. These qualities together with a colourful exterior made this project a thoroughly worthy winner of the Colour in Architecture Award at the World Architecture News Awards 2018, which were presented in London earlier this month.

The architect worked with the engineer Engenuiti, Integration and Building Trust International to deliver this innovative design, which pushes the boundaries of what can be built sustainably and cost-effectively in rural Cambodia. It also worked with the village’s farming community to realise this much needed building, which replaces
old premises that had provided secondary education for children from six surrounding villages in shifts.

The building has been designed for flexibility and adaptability and provides classrooms, a library and a covered external classroom with a sunken play area that doubles as an amphitheatre. The cross-section and orientation of the school building
respond to local environmental requirements. Its distinctive roof form incorporates overhanging verandas, providing solar shading to classroom walls and a shaded area, which can be used for smaller informal classes. The zinc roof incorporates a ‘top hat’
to the roof ridge, which combined with lower level wall openings, promotes circulation of air within classrooms and lets in light.

Locally available materials have been used to construct the building. Doors and windows are painted a vibrant green to reflect young rice plant shoots in surrounding paddy fields, and are complemented by red brick wall panels. Classroom doors also incorporate primary colours, which become visible as the school is opened up each day.

Khyaung School is among an international line-up of projects recognised in the WAN Awards 2018, which were celebrated in London earlier this month. The awards highlight excellence in current and future projects, as well as the application of new technologies and architecture’s rising stars.

The full list of winners of the WAN Awards 2018 is here.

Key Facts

Colour in architecture

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