Soe Ker Tie Haus: The Butterfly Houses of Burma
Can architecture be altruistic? Norway-based TYIN Architects say yes it can and yes it should. The firm have made it their mission to design and build sustainable shelters in impoverished areas of Uganda, Sumatra, and Thailand. They hire local workers to do the construction and source their building materials from local merchants for a seamless interaction between formal architecture and traditional techniques. Above you see the Soe Ker Tie Huts, which were designed as dormitories for orphaned Karen children in the village of No Boh on the Thai-Burmese border.
Due to their sloped roofs (for ventilation and for collecting rainwater during the dry season) and outward swinging panels, workers dubbed the project Soe Ker Tie Haus, which translates as Butterfly House. The exterior walls are made of woven bamboo, woven with local knowledge and out of bamboo harvested within a few miles of the village. TYIN hopes that teaching local workers about building techniques such as bracing and moisture prevention will lead to the creation of more sustainable constructions in the future.
Soe Ker Tie Haus was completed in 2009 and houses 24 children. While the huts were originally intended to simply function as dormitories, the ultimate goal was to give the orphaned children private spaces in which to play, interact and, perhaps most importantly, view as a permanent home of their very own. Above you see the Safe Haven Library, another space for orphans designed by TYIN and constructed by workers from Noh Bo. We hope to see more projects like Soe Ker Tie Haus from TYIN and other architectural firms in the future. Read more about the project here.