A new community Agriculture & Technology centre has launched in Krong Samraong, Cambodia, designed as a collaboration between Squire & Partners and SAWA for the Green Shoots Foundation. Built by local contractors, farmers and 16-25 year olds over a four-month period - assisted by volunteers from the UK - the development provides education in agricultural technologies to support children and adults in the local community, and facilitates opportunities for enterprise.
The masterplan elements are designed to be responsive to the tropical climate – with raised floors to negate flood risk, screens to diffuse sunlight whilst providing ventilation, and overhanging roof eaves for the rainy season – as well as utilising local resources, labour and skills.
The main structure provides a multi-use hall with office and storage spaces, and a full width screened veranda. Within a robust rectangular steel frame, the primary building materials comprise bricks made on site from stabilised earth, rice husk/clay blocks and bamboo screens. Cassava and sand plaster is used to render walls, created in collaboration with local organic farm OrganiKH.
Internally, a cast entrance ramp with bamboo imprints leads to a flexible screened veranda space with built-in countertops used for workshops or as pop up shops for local producers. Office and storage uses provide separation between the social veranda, and two generous classrooms set either side of a central hallway.
Woven grass screens, made by a local women’s cooperative, can be lowered to define the two rooms, or rolled up to create one large gathering space. Grass mats are also used as blinds and ceiling canopies, while local bamboo fisherman’s baskets were re-purposed as lampshades.
Smaller outbuildings provide a block making shelter, biogas-toilet with a reciprocal spiral bamboo roof topped by a repurposed metal drum rooflight, a thatched chicken roosting house, water catchment and filtration system, and a curved lattice split bamboo tunnel planted with native plants such as cucumbers and long beans. Hand painted stone signs in Khmer and English identify each building within the site.
The Agriculture & Technology Centre was launched by the Mayor of Krong Samraong, and Governor H W Lim Sokto, on 20 December 2018. This first phase has delivered a series of buildings which will serve up to 200 students by 2020, with a planned second phase to expand teaching facilities and create a solar provision to support the development.
The project was financed via an innovative model of curated ‘package holidays’ for volunteers, crowdfunding, Khmer Supper Clubs hosted by Squire & Partners, and raising awareness with a concept model of the development exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London in summer 2018. Find out more at www.greenshootsfoundation.org.