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[Photos] Renovation Project Brings Comfy Classrooms to Remote Son La School

It's hard to nourish the mind when the body is suffering.

The value of a good education is incalculable, and Vietnam makes great efforts to provide children in even the most remote and impoverished areas with schooling. But in addition to the hardships of trekking along muddy paths, down mountains and across streams to reach a school, the building itself can be a hindrance if it is not maintained. A dilapidated structure unable to shield students from the elements makes receiving an education much more difficult. Adequate lighting and ventilation, as well as sound insulation, are also required so students can focus their attention on learning.

This school in the remote village of Ban Ly in Son La Province aims to make a difference in the lives of the primarily Thai ethnic minority children in the surrounding community. 1+1>2 Architects renovated a worn-down structure with simple but smart construction methods in the hope that local children would be better able to excel in class. 

The school consists of a kindergarten and primary school, with the old school building connected to the new one via playgrounds, courtyards and open space. The rooms are arranged north to south to avoid the effects of harsh sunlight. Bricks made out of earth from the excavation process were used for the walls, which help keeps the rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

While built with local architecture in mind, the buildings stand out thanks to their colorful red, blue and green roof panels and yellow walls and doors. The cheerful appearance creates a warm, playful environment for students and makes for an inviting destination beset by spectacular views of the majestic countryside. 

[Photos by Son Vu via ArchDaily]