In 2011, Building Trust International launched an International design competition asking Architects, Designers and Engineers to come up with an innovative design solution for a mobile, modular school for a displaced community of migrants and refugees on the Thai/Burma border. The winners of The MOVING Schools 001 were architects Dan La Rossa and Amadeo Bennetta; they worked together with parents and children and local craftsmen to create a truly remarkable new school. It took them only 3 months to bring the structure to shape, using bolted iron structure and lightweight bamboo.


The project utilized traditional bamboo building techniques and concrete-free structures made from reclaimed tires filled with compacted gravel. The roof was a challenge because it had to be supported by the light bamboo; they ended up building it from tensile fabric. The reasons were two fold longevity and noise reduction – during the monsoon season, teaching with the heavy noise caused by the falling rain.

The cultural and social context of the project is more complicated than with most such projects, and the fact that the entire school is designed for easy dissasembly fits perfectly with the context. The construction of the school was a learning experience for the architects as well as the local community.

Photos by Building Trust International