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Temporary dormitories for CDC School

Building Occupancy / Site Capacity: 


The armed conflict that has persisted for decades in the Karen State of Myanmar results in a daily flow of refugees and immigrants to neighbouring Thailand. In the Thai town of Mae Sot, a few kilometres from the Burmese border, numerous schools and orphanages offer accommodation and education. One of these centers, the CDC School (children development center) under the tutelage of Mae Tao Clinic organisation, hosts more than 500 students.

The lack of space, and in many cases, the need for immediate accommodation for new students forced the school to present a new model of temporary low cost dormitories that are easy to assemble.

Funded by the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok, the first of 4 dormitories was built in April 2012 within 4 weeks. With a capacity of 25 students, the building meets the modus vivendi by fitting into the local environment in which it is located. The interior layout ensures an open and airy space that offers semi-privacy and includes storage space for up to 3 students. The materials used are locally available and well known for their users, which allows easy maintenance and results in low cost.


The goal of the CDC is to provide quality education to Burmese and ethnic minority
children. Through its curriculum and extracurricular activities, the CDC hopes to provide
students with the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively toward their personal
goals. In addition, efforts have been made to offer programs that nourish compassion,
gratitude, and understanding as the students approach adulthood. This will allow them to
cultivate ideas that can benefit the greater good of their communities, and beyond.
The objectives of CDC school are as follows:

- To increase access to quality education for stateless children living in Tak Province
- To partner with Community Based Organisations and the local Thai community
- To advocate for recognition and support for migrant children’s education within the
Thai education system
- To support students’ welfare and psychosocial needs through standardised care

Due to fresh conflict breaking out in Burma at the end of 2010, 2011 saw another rise in the
number of students and boarders at the CDC. The CDC enrolled 1,141 students in January,
a 4% increase from last year. However, at the beginning of the school year in June, a lower
number of 1,128 students enrolled. Efforts are being made to keep the number of children
at the CDC stable, as previous surges in student numbers have created funding difficulties.
Due to these capacity limitations, CDC management assists children who wish to study at
CDC but who cannot be accepted, by finding them places at nearby schools.


Using some of the land available not far from the CDC school, it was decided to build a new boarding house. How did the design of the building start? Well, by asking ourselves this simple question:

What DOs / DON’Ts we want for the building?

We DON’T want more than 25 students per building, otherwise it will be too crowded.
We DO want to use materials that can be either reused or sold afterwards.
We DO want to have enough outdoor space for leisure activities.
We DO want to use traditional construction techniques to facilitate an easy maintainance.

Once we decided on the design and everybody had agreed with the location of the houses (4 buildings to hold almost 100 people), we were then ready to draw an accurate plan to be able to measure all the material that was needed.


Name oft the project: Temporary Dormitories (CDC School)
Local Organisation: Mae Tao Clinic -
Costs per building: 1700€
Construction: Ga Yaw Ga Yaw -
Size per building: 72 m2
Date: April – June 2012
Pictures: Line Ramstad, Allyse Pulliam

Architects: Albert Company Olmo, Jan Glasmeier , Line Ramstad


Mae Sot


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Project Details

NAME: Temporary dormitories for CDC School
PROJECT LEAD: Albert Company Olmo, Jan Glasmeier, Line Ramstad
LOCATION: Mae Sot, Thailand
START DATE: March 01, 2012
CURRENT PHASE: Construction complete
COST: $1700 USD (Estimated)
SIZE: 70 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Transitional Shelter, Temporary Shelter, Residential – Public Housing, Residential – Mixed Development, Orphanage, Landscapes/Parks/Outdoor Spaces, Homeless Shelter, Health Clinic, Emergency Shelter, Education Facility - Training Center, Education Facility - Secondary School, Community Center
ADDITIONAL CONSULTANT: Maria Núñez, Eduardo Novo, Alejandro Buzo
BENEFICIARIES: Students from CDC School
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: The materials used are locally available and well known for their users, which allows easy maintenance and results in low cost.