Agri Tech Centre, Cambodia
Investing in agricultural education for orgaic rural development
The brief was to create a centre for agricultural technology that will showcase best low-cost and affordable agriculture and technology practices to farmers and youth in impoverished communities. Moving from education and theory into practice and business enterprise, it provides a space for the Green Shoots FASE (Food Agriculture and Social Entrepreneurship) program which focuses on addressing; promoting and improving education, social capital, entrepreneurship and sustainable farming techniques in rural areas of low economic status and the high urban exodus.
FASE has introduced vegetable gardens and agricultural lessons into 43 primary schools in the Oddar Meanchay province and the Agri Tech Centre will highlight best practices to these primary schools.
SAWA in collaboration with Squire and Partners were appointed the architects to design and deliver the phased approach to the centre. On our research trip, we took time to understand the unique local assets, needs and constraints through close collaboration with our incredible local partner CIDO (Community-based Integrated Development Organization) who have been running the centre since its opening in December 2018.
Phases 1, 2 and 3 Complete – December 2018
Phase 1 – Earth Block Making– 18 m2 – Completed August 2018
Digging, testing and making adobe earth blocks from the two kinds of earth excavated from the site of the Agri Tech Centre.
Phase 2 – Agri Tech Hall – 220 m2 – Complete December 2018
The Agricultural Technology Hall is a rectangular building containing a hall space which can be subdivided into two classrooms through the adjustment of the locally-sourced grass matt blinds.
The design takes into account the humidity of the tropical climate. The site is prone to flooding during the rainy season so the building is raised above ground. The woven bamboo screens provide gentle natural lighting and ventilation to flow through all spaces for a cool and calming learning environment. We utilized local skills and materials to enhance uniquely crafted architecture, and engaged local people in the shared learning opportunities at the centre. The centre also provided welcome employment for local farmers and builders.
The Architectural Detail
Phase 3 – Agricultural buildings: a biogas WC, Compost house, plant nursery, vertical growing structures, timber treatment area, rainwater harvesting and filtration facility and chicken house – completed December 2018