Sembalun Lawang Kindergarten

Design/ Build Studio - Education Lab

The kindergarten was constructed with the community of Sembalun Lawang in 2015 as part of the Youth Expedition Project. Prior to that, a participatory design approach was adopted to get the community involved in the design process from the start. The kindergarten forms a part of the construction of an integrated learning centre for the community. A classroom of an approximate size of 30m2 was constructed for the Phase 1 of the project, followed by the construction of a Youth Training Centre and two more classrooms in the next two phases.


The classroom was built using local materials and labour. Reinforced concrete was used only for the main structural columns and beams, while timber decking was used for the floor system. Framed bamboo weave walls adopted from the traditional Sasak houses were appropriated to form the classroom walls. Colourful projected openings on these bamboo walls allowed for ample natural ventilation and lighting into the classroom space and at the same time serves as a playful element for the building façade. A bay window serves as the backdrop for a stage as well as a storage space below. Shoe racks were also built in as part of the wall system.

Seats were integrated with the columns along the verandah spaces for waiting parents. Another type of bamboo weave, traditionally used for goods baskets, was adopted as a

sun-shading screen for the east facade.


The building of the classroom is a good example of the intersection of traditional and modern technology. Whilst understanding vernacular architecture, the use of local materials and crafts are appropriated to meet functional and aesthetics requirements of the building.

More importantly, the entire process of construction allowed the local community to look at what they already knew and applied them in a more innovative and contemporary manner.

The completed building gives those who reside in them and those who build it a great sense of dignity. Children who attend the kindergarten can now look forward to school everyday.