Social / May - Jun 2016


Son Lap Commune, Bao Lac, Cao Bang Province is a small village comprising 257 households and 1,700 inhabitants, with the H’Mong and Dao ethnic minorities forming 98 percent of the population. More than 70 percent of the population live in poverty—they have to live a life without electricity, infrastructure, roads, markets and telecommunication network. Following the shifting cultivation of wandering hill tribes, they have destroyed forests and kept backward habits. With such a nomadic way of life, one wonders about the educational needs of the children.

Surprisingly, the commune does have a school. It has a total of 485 students from kindergarten to secondary levels, with more than 10 classes at the main school, four branches and staff housing. However, none of them meet the minimum sanitary standards. As such, a space that includes a toilet, washing area and vegetation is urgently needed for this particular school and for the Vietnamese countryside in general. The project named Toigetation was designed based on three objectives: quick construction, low cost and wide applicability.

Likening the project to a large tree with wide canopy giving shade for the space below and within, Toigetation blends into the slope at the foot of Phja Da mount. It includes a thick layer of vegetation (trees and herbs) on four sides and the surrounding terraced garden. The vegetation layer helps in regulating the indoor climate, reinforcing the load bearing structure, supplying food, and at the same time, creating an implied boundary between the inside and outside.


Project Name Toigetation
Location Son Lap School, Son Lap Commune, Bao Lac, Cao Bang Province, Vietnam
Completion Date December 2014
Site Area 81 square meters
Gross Floor Area 36 square meters
Building Height 3.3 square meters
Principal Architects Doan Thanh Ha; trac Ngoc Phuong
Main Contractor H&P Architects
Images/Photos Doan Thanh Ha; H&P Architects

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