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A creative play and learning space , featuring a playground, shelter and a huge sculptural creature on the beautiful island of Koh Rong in Cambodia.
A creative play and learning space , featuring a playground, shelter and a huge sculptural creature on the beautiful island of Koh Rong in Cambodia.
122 backers pledged £7,784 to help bring this project to life.

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PLAYSCAPE | Learning Space in Koh Rong, Cambodia

£7,784

122

UPDATE

I am happy to announce the new 1.20 scale model that is up for grabs! Photos below:

WHO ARE WE?

We are a group of students at the Welsh School of Architecture (Cardiff University) that have teamed up with the charity Friends of Koh Rong (FoKR) and the music artist Caribou to bring this project to life.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT?

We will be designing a creative play and learning space for the local school on the beautiful island of Koh Rong off the coast of Cambodia, in the village of Koh Touch. The design will combine 3 elements: a playground, a semi enclosed space to read, relax and draw, and a shelter to protect a sculptural fish provided by Caribou through a winning competition entry. Our scheme unites all three parts into one simple and effective design.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Children from the ages of 5 - 15 attend the school and currently have no space to call their own. Everywhere that they used to spend their days playing and socialising with friends has recently been taken over by the influx of tourism, guesthouses, and the bars that come with them. The space we are creating becomes more than just a playground, but somewhere they can always go knowing they are safe. 

Due to the rapid increase in tourism and the economy there is also a rise in jobs on the Island. The school provides the necessary education and teaches the students to speak English so that they can obtain these jobs themselves and maintain their traditions and culture. It will also help the children to explore their own creativity through playing and learning, something that can be easily lost without a place to express their ideas.

WHAT IS THE CREATURE AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

The creature as featured in the music video 'Can't Do Without You' by Caribou
The creature as featured in the music video 'Can't Do Without You' by Caribou

The music artist Caribou held a competition to win the stunning art piece featured in his latest music video ‘Can’t Do Without You’. The huge sculptural creature needed a new home after the video, so we emailed in with our entry proposing that the playground could become its new home. We felt that bringing something like this to a village where they've seen nothing like it before will be a truly magical experience for the children and community as a whole. The experience would be far more intimate and personal to them than the average festival goer. The creature will provide real inspiration for the young people to create something out of the ordinary for themselves. Caring for marine life plays a big part in living on an island, and the fish represents so much of what is important for their growth.

The location of the fish in the scheme
The location of the fish in the scheme

WHO ARE 'FRIENDS OF KOH RONG' (FoKR)?

Established in 2013, Friends of Koh Rong exists to help the local communities on the Koh Rong archipelago adapt to the tourism industry that is changing their way of life. 

Friends of Koh Rong seeks to aide their beneficiaries to stand in the best possible position to benefit from the changes that have come to their island. The main areas of focus are education and community capacity development. To learn more about the organisation, explore their website: http://friendsofkohrong.org/

"On our first day we were handed two used whiteboard markers, a Khmer-English dictionary, a ruler, and five pencils - for a class of thirty children. Since that day we have been hard at work not only teaching, but also designing a systematic curriculum that is sustainable and can be transported to other villages on the island, (where there is currently no system of education)." - Kelly Beker

Each of the teachers have years of experience working with children, teaching ESL abroad and organising many other child programs in their hometowns of Toronto, Melbourne and Cape Town.

"We are all excited to be a part of this amazing project, and are already seeing the positive impact of donations to the school. We have already had over 100 drop-in volunteers, working with children on their reading skills, as well as donations of school supplies from kind backpackers." - Fran Antoniou

"Any donation at all can impact a child's life here significantly!" - Eliza Arnold

Further information: Vimeo 

Creative learning at the school
Creative learning at the school

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF FoKR IN THE PROJECT?

Friends of Koh Rong are our link to the Island, they are the ones who were enthusiastic about the project right from the very start and welcomed us with open arms. They were able to secure us permission to build on the school's land, which changed this project from a great idea into a reality.

FoKR play a vital role on the Island and provide the education to the children of Koh Touch, therefore we believe it is necessary to not only fund this playground but provide enough money to maintain the school and playground in the future with its continued upkeep. We hope our project will play a big part in the community upon completion and continue to make a difference in the children's lives throughout the years to come.

WHAT IS THE DESIGN?

The design consists of a series of vertical timber elements that visually unites it as one design. Bamboo pads fill the gaps between the columns creating a vertical playground for the children to climb, crawl and explore. We have purposefully left some of the playful elements open to interpretation because we know that no child will follow 'instructions', but instead will create games themselves using the structure as a prompt.

The pads surround the main structure that will house Caribou's Fish, which acts as the central point within the design providing inspiration for the kids. Alongside this is a small enclosed area which acts as a space to sit, read and draw. Seating areas and relaxing hammocks will be throughout the design and underneath the pads to provide shading form the harsh sun. A large 2m x 2m hammock sits underneath the tail of the fish allowing the children to chill out and chat with their friends while looking up at the beautiful art piece.

While completing the 1.50 model we realised that it will be necessary to increase the size of the main shelter protecting the creature to allow for more space to walk around and fully appreciate the art piece.

A rope climb connects the pads
A rope climb connects the pads
Monkey bars challenges the children's strength
Monkey bars challenges the children's strength

USING WASTE MATERIAL

Using litter and waste material on the island will play a big role in how our design changes on site. Litter washed ashore on the beaches of the island is a big problem, and so we want to help promote the up-cycle of these found materials and create something new and wonderful with them. We currently have ideas to use plastic and glass bottles to create some of the walls or even a small canopy. Old car tyres will be used to further support the foundations and create smaller playful aspects. 

WHERE IS THE SITE?

The view of the site looking East
The view of the site looking East

The site is located on the Island of Koh Rong off the coast of Cambodia. The land is situated in the village of Koh Touch next to the school in a large open space that backs onto the surrounding trees with a view of the sea on the horizon line.

The location of the school in the village of Koh Touch
The location of the school in the village of Koh Touch

INVOLVEMENT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Since this project is being designed and built for the community, we feel it is necessary to get them involved as much as possible! We have gathered ideas from the children about what they want to see in the final outcome, with some ideas being more plausible than others! During construction we will get the students to take part in building workshops where they will learn about the problem with litter and waste on the island, and help with the re-purposing of these materials.

Playground ideas gathered from the children
Playground ideas gathered from the children

WHAT WILL THE MONEY BE USED FOR?

Funding is crucial for this project to be fulfilled to it's greatest potential. The majority of money raised will go directly towards sourcing local materials, such as timber and bamboo, as well as the necessary tools, fixings and equipment needed during construction. Even with a relativity small scale project like this, the quantity of such materials is vast. 

As mentioned earlier, we believe it is necessary to not only fund this design and construction project but also provide enough money to maintain the school and playground in the future with its continued upkeep. We hope our project will play a big part in the community upon completion and continue to make a difference in the children's lives throughout the years to come.

There are many problems and challenges that could arise once construction has commenced, and so we need to account for the possibility that we will need to tackle these financially.

Any funding surpassing our target goal will go towards local empowerment. This is the support of wages for part time teachers, salary for a nurse, professional development opportunities for the local staff, and outreach to the surrounding local villages. FoKR wants to further transition into a locally managed and operated organization. 

THE T-SHIRT

The PLAYSCAPE T-shirt
The PLAYSCAPE T-shirt

THE TEAM

 OUR SPONSORS

BLOG

For updates follow our blog: ButeArchitecture 

PRESS

Caribou

Merge Records

DIY Magazine

The 405

________

Risks and challenges

There are an infinite number of problems that could arise throughout this project, from the shipment of materials, to the difficulty of construction. However, with the talented team working on this project; each with their own individual skills and knowledge, I am confident that we will be able to overcome every problem that is thrown at us!

It is inevitable that the design will change and adapt when we reach site and throughout the construction. This is something that we embrace! We will gain knowledge of local culture, the lives of the children and the spirit of the community that will allow us to refine the design.

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    Eternal gratitude!

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    Eternal gratitude and your name on one of the walls of the project!

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    Pledge £25 or more About US$ 30

    Your name on one of the walls of the project, and a hand screen printed PLAYSCAPE t-shirt designed by us in your choice of size (S, M, L, XL)

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    Your name on one of the walls of the project and the album Our Love - Caribou on vinyl!

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    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 60

    Your name on one of the walls of the project, and an unframed print of the drawing of your choice!

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    Pledge £70 or more About US$ 85

    Your name on one of the walls of the project, a hand screen printed PLAYSCAPE t-shirt, and an unframed print of the drawing of your choice!

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    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 604

    All of the above, our blessing and the original 1.50 model of the design!

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About US$ 1,209

    All of the above (except the 1.50 model), our blessing and the original 1.20 model of the design!

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Funding period

- (30 days)