School floating in the Sky by Kikuma Watanabe is a school in the village of Shangkhaburi, Thailand, located near the border of Myanmar, that aims to help alleviate poverty.
Says Kikuma Watanabe, “There are a lot of immigrants and orphans in this area. They are so poor that they cannot raise their children themselves. Wanting to provide a good future for these kids, we hoped that the school would be designed as the realization of their dreams. So, at first the teacher asked the children to draw the dream of the school building.”
“One of them drew a flying ship. We adapted his idea, and translated his drawing into the architectural design. The image was adapted into two main architectural components: the round, earthbag volumes on the ground and the other, a light steel structure finished with bamboo and a grass roof.”
“The earthbag domes are thought of as a ‘launching pad’ that supplies the ship with the energy of Mother Earth and the upper steel building as the ship that is soaring in the sky.”
“The round volumes create a warm interior, fostering a sense of comfort for the children in prayer dome and classroom of earth. The floating level above functions as a buddhist room and learning area. A gentle breeze flows through the thatched roof, giving the feeling of being in a ship. The upper floor connects to the lower earthbag domes through two openings.”
“Since its completion, the school has become a successful place for the community to enjoy studying, playing, and praying everyday. The interpretation of their dreams into architectural form establishes a foundation to help lead the children to a bright future.”