Buddhanimit Temple, located in a rural community in Udon Thani, Thailand, is a temple school that provides free education for families who are unable to afford public education. Due to increasing number of students enrolled as novice monks, an extension dormitory building is required. The original brief of the project calls for a two-storey dormitory building under a donated 6 million baht (EUR.154,000) budget. After thorough site inspections and workshops with monks and novices, the architects proposed an economical scheme to renovate an existing abandoned classroom building on site into a dormitory. This leaves enough money to provide additional library and washroom for the novice monks. Novice Living Quarters intends to produce a design that is environmental friendly, respective to context, and contributing to the novice monks’ ways of living.
The dormitory building was once an abandoned building. The architects kept existing reinforced concrete beams and columns while adding on only necessary architectural elements to provide new shared bedrooms for approximately forty novice monks. The bedrooms are designed with translucent roof tiles installed at specific locations for natural daylight. These bedrooms are connected with a large corridor that serves as leisure common space for novice monks. One of the noticeable features of the dormitory is the cement ventilation blocks which are designed at an angle to provide privacy from public view and provide openings for light and ventilation.
Located behind the dormitory building is the communal bathing area to support all the novices within the temple’s ground and evoke casual gathering and conversation exchanges throughout the day. The communal bath’s roof is designed to evenly distribute daylight into building interiors by having alternating placements of translucent and solid roof tiles. Hence, natural light and airflow increase to appropriate levels, resulting in an improved overall hygienic condition.
As an addition to the required brief, the architects proposed a library extended from the existing school building. Raised floors with slanted roof, the library considers passive design decisions to better wind flow, decrease humidity, cool floor surface and prevent direct sunlight from south direction. With the adjacent school building’s wall, sunlight is reflected into the library’s interior space, keeping books from deteriorating and maintaining comfort to the novice monks.
Collaboration between monks, novices and architects made possible for Novice Living Quarters in Buddhanimit Temple to answer beyond its required function. It improves the novice monks’ quality of life and leaves room for them to contribute their own individual lifestyle into character.