• A design guideline for school shelters: disaster-resilient communities in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Hong, Soon Min, 2019, Thesis, A design guideline for school shelters: disaster-resilient communities in the Lao People's Democratic Republic MPhil thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research develops a design guide for a community shelter, taking into consideration the Lao
government aim to design schools fit for functioning as shelters. Although international humanitarian
agencies have published operational guidelines for shelter construction programmes, they lack
consideration of spatial design, local specificity, practical knowledge of architectural design and
practice, and community participation, and are therefore difficult to implement. This dissertation
examines these issues and explores the participatory design principles of village schools functioning
as community shelters through the lens of a design guideline. The key question of this practice-led
thesis is: What are the spatial strategies for flood resilience in the context of Laos and how can these
inform a new design guideline?
This practice-led research consists of four parts. The first examines existing guidelines for shelter and
housing construction with a focus on the theoretical and practical contexts – i.e. local specificity,
architectural design, and community participation. The second explores the current circumstances of
flood risk management in Laos. Following this, the scope that an adequate design guide should include
is analysed and spatial strategies investigated in the context of school community shelters in rural
areas. In the third part, school construction guidelines are discussed in relation to equivalent
guidelines and circumstances in Laos, particularly considering existing practice and quality of
construction. Hereby indigenous knowledge and local construction skills are studied, and retrofitting
architectural design and practice is explored while considering the means of community participation.
Based on this, a new design guide for a community shelter in flood-prone areas in rural Laos is
This thesis is closely linked to an ongoing live project to design and build a flood shelter for a rural
village in Laos, which will be conducted in 2019. It is therefore the first phase of the larger action
research project. The school shelter guideline proposed will be then tested and verified by a live
project, and afterwards the guidelines will be developed for publication in Laos and neighbouring
nations with similar flood risks.

Qualification Name: MPhil
Subjects: Architecture > K100 Architecture
Architecture > K200 Building
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 13:30
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2020 15:59
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3955
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