Ban Ly primary school

Architects                    : 1+1>2 Architects (

Location                      : Chieng Khoang Commune, Quynh Nhai District, Son La Province, Vietnam

Client                           : Mountainous Underprivileged Students Fund

Sponsor                       : VN Help

Lead architects            : Hoang Thuc Hao, Son Vu

Location                      : Chieng Khoang Commune, Quynh Nhai District, Son La Province, Vietnam

Construction Manager:  Nguyen Gia Phong, Hoang Văn Minh, Nguyen Cong Dinh

Construction work      : Local construction team

Completion                 : 2019

Construction Area       : 700 sq.m

Photographs                : Son Vu


Ban Ly village is located in the valley of Chieng Khoang commune, Quynh Nhai District, Son La Province, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, river and verdant rice fields. Most of the inhabitants are Thai ethnic minority, with the treacherous mountainous area and difficult to approach, the lives of people are still in shortage. Day by day, students have to cross through rivers and hills to go to school. However, the existing school has deteriorated facilities and inadequate classes.

The goal of this project is school renovation to ensure comfort and respond to the harsh weather condition. The design meets the standards of lighting, ventilation as well as sound insulation for highland school with sufficient function and learning spaces.

The land is divided into two areas: kindergarten and primary school. In order to save the cost, the existing block is renovated effectively by connecting with the new building into a whole, interwoven by voids, courtyards, playgrounds. The primary school and kindergarten has separate entrances and playgrounds. The functional blocks are arranged in the North - South direction to avoid solar radiation from the East and West. Cube shapes of classes link to inner halls and courtyards, open up a beautiful picturesque field backdrop creating a space for playground, sport and other outdoor activities.

The design language is in accordance with local architecture, well balanced but still stands out from the context. Simple and coherent volumes combine with highlight details such as colorful doors, brick walls to create interesting and friendly space for children. Light steel structure and blue, red insulated metal roof adorn colors to the scenario. While walking on the small path across the river, Ban Ly school is vivid to recognize from far away.

To reduce the carbon footprint and improve heat insulation, earth bricks were made using soil from foundation excavation. The material also allows a balanced indoor climate which helps classes stay cool in summer and warm during winter.

With the hope to transform school into a favorite place for kids, encourage excitement in learning and creativity, the flag raising area becomes a centerpiece by undulating roof lines, painted with mountainous colors, symbolize students’ daily journey wandering up hill and down dale to go to school.