Safe Haven Bathhouse

Location: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
Client: Safe Haven Orphanage
Project: Sanitary Building
Cost: 22,500 NOK / 3.800 USD
Building period: 12. – 29. January 2009
Built by: TYIN tegnestue and Local Workers
Architects: Andreas Grontvedt Gjertsen and Yashar Hanstad

In January 2009, TYIN invited 15 Norwegian architect students from NTNU to participate in a workshop at the Safe Haven Orphanage, Thailand. Associate Professor Hans Skotte and architect Sami Rintala led the workshop.

The most pressing needs at the orphanage was a new sanitary building and a library. TYIN worked on the sanitary building, together with the Karen workers from Noh Bo. While the workshop participants focused their efforts on the library.

The new sanitary building houses the basic needs of the orphanage; the toilets, personal hygiene facilities and laundry. The internal structure was already built and became the framework for the project.

The most intimate functions are located within the two plastered concrete masses. The central zone contains concrete containers for bathing and opens out towards the vast teak plantation. The bathing area is only partly privatized, adapted to Karen culture. A tilted facade of bamboo covers the front of the building and creates a passageway, connecting the two functions together.

A huge challenge in this project was the sewage, which has to be dealt with on-site. The drainage system has to be able to cope with large amounts of water during the rainy season. The existing sanitary facilities at Safe Haven Orphanage were narrow, dark and have concrete flooring that accumulated water and dirt. With this bathhouse we have tried alternative solutions that hopefully will be an important asset in the future development in the district. Gravel and wooden floors are easy to keep clean and dry, using layers of stone and gravel drains all wet rooms. The waste from the toilets passes through pipes buried in the ground.

The climate of northern Thailand makes good personal hygiene essential to prevent diseases, especially for small children. With this bathhouse TYIN wanted to create well functioning and dignified facility for personal hygiene.