The សាលា SALA Community College in downtown Phnom Penh, is a place for Cambodians to further their education, be it through honing their technical or soft skills. This is especially needed for a generation of Cambodians who have lost years of education due to civil disturbances. There has also been a greater demand for an educated workforce and more need for civic participation now more than ever in a changing world and hence it is more than appropriate that they should be giving this opportunity for the better, school for the future.
The school, a community college would be intended to target to adult leaners, who may not have had the opportunity for studying and wish to seek to be educated, and hence would be strategically located in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia and would be centrally located near workplaces (most of which are blue collar jobs) and along 13 of the major bus routes which they may come from after work in the evening.
The spaces within the college would be categorized into four major sectors, the ones catering for students, staff, combined spaces and miscellaneous spaces, and they would be positioned so as to match each other in functionality as much as possible. In addition, the five floors of the school are configured in an ascending order according to the KOLB Learning Cycle for all types of learners to allow for the best learning experience.
The building spaces are divided across 5 floors of about 1000 sqm. SO where exactly are these spaces located within the college, to take you through. Firstly, the ground floor spaces would mainly for staff as well as safe keeping or logistic spaces which are common across shophouse typologies. From the second to the fifth floor the previously mentioned KOLB learning cycle was adopted to position the spaces, the reflective/observation stage would be seen from the culinary kitchen and library for students here on the second floor. The conceptualization stage on the third floor can be seen here with classrooms/study rooms provided for students to learn from teachers or each other. In the experimenting stage on the 4th floor, the students are able to make use of computer room, specialization room, music room to hone their skills and technical knowledge from they have observed and learned from the floors below. Lastly in the experience stage on the fifth floor, the students would be able to make use of the workshop space/open yard space for building projects and to get their hands dirty.
To zoom in on the section, the west setting sun would be partially blocked by a façade frame to prevent the excessive light. This frame would however allow for wind ventilation to flow through the college corridor and up the back fire escape stairs. The alternating cantilever of the blocks would allow for the prevailing NE and SW wind to be caught all year round. The frame and the parapet would also allow for the noise from the roadside to be partially blocked. Lastly the provision of spaces for auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory styles of learning also cater to everyone.
So when you put everything together, the overall design, inspired by native vernacular architecture, features a reinterpreted traditional steep gable roof and striped wall façade. The striped walls that also resembles the pages of books and an alternate thread stairs hidden in plain sight seeks to inspire students to take the climb towards excellence. This is also in contrast to the sometimes morose and mundane street life, giving it more dynamism and life. When looking from the top on the hotel opposite the college, the gable roof which partially extends from the roof beams shows how indirect sunlight can be reflected into the Fabrication Lab, while also being protected by the motorised jalousie windows. The gable roof would also allow for the rainwater to be collected when it flows down to a cistern tank tucked under the roof itself too. So to zoom in to the 4th floor, one would see a scene of college students enjoying the cantilevered space in the evening. This would be an architecture providing for a higher-educated future.
To round up these are some construction details of the FFE which are unique to the college. In all the សាលា SALA Community College hopes to be here for the better, school for the future.