Pro bono project will allow children to attend school full-time

Weston Williamson has completed a school in rural Cambodia.

The pro bono project, in Khyaung village 40km north of Phnom Penh, was commissioned by the Building Trust International charity.

The school, for 360 pupils aged three to 17, contains three classrooms which open on to a central school yard, a library and a covered external classroom with a play area which doubles as a small amphitheatre.

The size of the previous school meant children travelling from six surrounding villages to the area’s only school with secondary provision had to attend in shifts, part-time.

The new school’s low-maintenance design, using local materials, maximises the use of external and internal spaces, incorporating traditional verandas to enable teaching and play in small groups.

The rooms open on to the central school yard, which is central to the plan and offers a shaded and flexible space for learning and play. It also provides a community meeting space outside of school hours.

Cross-ventilation is maximised with high-level openings and bricks cavities.

A central aim of the project was to foster an on-going relationship with the local community in Khyaung, allowing ideas to be shared and knowledge to be exchanged. The design was developed in close collaboration with the school allowing for skill sharing and brainstorming ideas with local contractors and the community.

Senior Weston Williamson partner Philip Breese said: “It’s only the start of what we hope will be an on-going exchange of skills and ideas with our friends in Khyaung village.”