The brief for the Panyaden International School’s sports and assembly hall was to build a modern facility that is big enough to hold the projected capacity of 300 students, but at the same time integrate with the existing earthen and bamboo buildings and the natural hilly landscape of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The new building also had to maintain the low carbon footprint and be in line with the school’s green mission.

Chiang Mai Life Architects and Construction opted for a completely natural material, bamboo, to construct the 782m² hall that hosts futsal, basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, as well as a stage that can be lifted automatically. The backdrop of the stage is the front wall of a storage room for sports and drama equipment, while balconies on the sides provide space for spectators to observe sporting events or shows.

Section (top), Elevation (middle), The main floor plan (bottom). Courtesy of Chiang Mai Life Architects and Construction

Carbon footprint: Zero
The selected bamboo was treated with borax salt and no toxic chemicals were involved in the treatment process. Since the bamboo absorbs carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport and construction, Panyaden’s Sports Hall’s carbon footprint is zero. Moreover, the bamboo hall is expected to last for at least 50 years.

Inspired by the lotus flower
The design was based on the lotus flower, the traditional flower of Buddhism, as Panyaden International School uses Buddhist teachings to infuse values into its academic curriculum and teach the underlying mechanisms of the human mind.

Left: The exterior of the Panyaden International School’s sports and assembly hall. Courtesy of Markus Roselieb (CLA). Middle: The new hall integrates with the existing earthen and bamboo buildings and the natural hilly landscape of Chiang Mai. Courtesy of Markus Roselieb (CLA). Right: The prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17m without steel reinforcements or connections. Courtesy of Alberto Cosi, www.albertocosi.com

The hall was designed with the help of two independent engineers to modern safety standards to withstand the local high-speed winds, earthquakes and all other natural forces. The innovative structural design uses newly developed prefabricated bamboo trusses, with a span of over 17m without steel reinforcements or connections, which were prebuilt on site and lifted into position with the help of a crane. Openings between the roof layers provide light and natural ventilation.

Together, the combination of the organic design, the natural bamboo and modern engineering creates a cool and pleasant climate all year round through natural ventilation and insulation. At the same time, the exposed bamboo structure is a feast to the eye and an exhibition of masterly handicraft.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Chiang Mai Life Architects and Construction for the information given to write this article.

Quick facts:
Architect: Chiang Mai Life Architects and Construction.
Lead architects: Markus Roselieb, Tosapon Sittiwong.
Engineers: Phuong Nguyen, Esteban Morales Montoya.
Client: Panyaden International School.
Budget: USD300 000.
Carbon footprint: Zero.

Caption main image: The prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17m without steel reinforcements or connections.  Courtesy of Alberto Cosi, www.albertocosi.com