One architectural typology they keep returning to is that of libraries. They built the Safe Haven Library (above) at the Safe Haven Ophanage in Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand, in two weeks in early 2009. The library was built using exclusively local materials and labor. All the money spent on the project went to nearby markets. Its bamboo structure and concrete block walls sit atop a concrete base that keeps the space cool during the day. The children at the orphanage use the library for doing homework, reading books, and working on computers.
To see the building come together, thanks to a slew of volunteers and 15 Norwegian architecture students, see the video below:
Later that same year, they turned their attention to creating the Old Market Library, a community gathering place and public library in a Bangkok slum. A collaboration with the local firm CASE Architects, the space is carved out of a hundred-year-old building and built of recycled materials. It's elevated to ensure it remains usable during floods. In building the library, the architects demonstrated to the local community a safe and structurally sound way to build two-story buildings. "Showing the local community the potential in local resources is a big part of the long-term benefits of projects like this," says Hanstad.
To see the two-month building process condensed into less than two minutes, check out this time-lapse video: