Tag Archives: bamboo

UNESCO visits Panyaden

UNESCO Myanmar visits Panyaden
Panyaden hosted officials from UNESCO Thailand and the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar last week. As part of improving the presentation of World Heritage sites in Myanmar, UNESCO has been encouraging the Myanmar officials to consider the use of vernacular building materials and technologies such as bamboo. Citing Panyaden as “an exemplary model in promoting sustainable use of local building materials”, the officials were keen to learn about the design, benefits, use and maintenance of our bamboo and earth buildings and how these facilitate the educational approach of the school.

UNESCO Thailand and Myanmar officials at Panyaden UNESCO Myanmar officials with Panyaden School Director Neil Ams

Photos of above visit on our blog: Unesco Visits Panyaden

Back to Panyaden blog home page.

New Bathrooms for Primary Students

New eco-friendly bathrooms at Panyaden School, built by Chiangmai Life Construction
New bathrooms for next year. Construction well underway for a new bathroom block near the Music room. This will meet the needs of current upper primary staff and students and eventually what will be the primary section of Panyaden School’s campus.

New bamboo and earth bathrooms for Panyaden School's primary students

Panyaden Summer Fair

An Enjoyable Day

Panyaden School held its Summer Fair and Open House Day last Saturday, 2 April. Parents, children, the press, architects, friends and educators turned up throughout the day to join in the festivities. They toured the campus, participated in the talks and enjoyed watching local Lanna artisans at work.

Our teachers entertained children with educational games, craft making, music and singing. Many of the parents happily joined in as well. Organic ice cream, cold coconut and fresh vegetable juices were much sought-after thirst quenchers as the visitors walked around the school to admire the bamboo and earth architecture. Needless to say, the playground with the wooden slide, ropes, bamboo flute and sand box, was especially popular among the young ones.

Talks organized that day included two by our School Director and Founders on how Panyaden will integrate lessons learnt from successful bilingual schools across Europe, North America and Asia and how the school will apply Buddha’s teachings into its curriculum (read Neil Amas’ upcoming post on bilingual learning).

Adults and children sat comfortably on mats placed on the cool earthen floor of the Parents’ Sala as they listened to Taan Ajahn Jew’s Dharma talk, ‘A Buddhist View on Education.’

 

Yoga and meditation classes were on offer and Panyaden staff were available to answer questions on the curriculum and the type of education they can expect for their children. It was a fruitful and enjoyable day for our school and visitors alike. We wish to thank everyone for making it a success!

Making of A Buddha Image

Panyaden Photo by Ally Taylor

พระปัญญานุภาพไชยมงคล

Phra Panya Nu Phap Chaiyamongkol

Auspicious Victory Through The Power Of Wisdom


This is the name given to the Buddha image that is currently being created for Panyaden School through the collaboration of two Thai artists. It captures the essence of the school’s belief in helping its students develop and apply wisdom in their lives.

The materials uTook & Thana Photo by Ally Taylorsed for the Buddha statue are bamboo and earth mixed with rice husks – the same natural materials that compose the walls, floors and roofs of Panyaden School.The inspiration for this sculpture came from a smaller Buddha image made by Thai artist, Metta Sudsawad (Took). The main sculpturing is done by Chiang Mai artist Thana Chaiyasien. Khun Took is overseeing this important undertaking. She is also instrumental in crafting the details that will make the image come alive.

The Making Of A Buddha Image

We follow the journey of our main Buddha statue as it begins its life on paper as a 5-foot tall drawing made by Pi Took (white Buddha in the main photo above).

Buddha image skeleton Photo by Ally Taylor

 

Pi Thana first creates the skeleton from bamboo pieces which he enhances with rope and holds everything in place by wooden dowels. 3 days later, he starts to flesh out the body with a mixture of earth, rice husks and water. A week later, we join Pi Took as she examines and works out any changes with Pi Thana. Once she is happy with the structure and proportion of the main body, she will start working each day to finesse the little details that are so important in creating the right posture, attitude and feeling that this Buddha image will evoke. It is refreshing to see the two artists quietly working together to create a statue that will embody Buddha’s wisdom and compassion.

Buddha Photo by Ally Taylor

 

I ask Pi Took if her vision for the statue is based on any specific Thai tradition of Buddha art. “I would say it’s a contemporary style, closer to the Rattanakosin School which makes the Buddha image more realistic and closer to human anatomy and features. However, instead of a flame at the top of the head, I will sculpt a hollow lotus bud, which I think is a softer and more peaceful symbol. Ajahn Jayasaro will place a Buddha relic in the bud during the installation ceremony at Panyaden School.”

The Buddha statue has its right hand, palm down, touching the earth in the Bhumisparsha Mudra (ปางมารวิชัย, pang maa ra wi chai or ‘Calling the Earth to Witness’) gesture (mudra). It is believed that Shakyamuni (before he became Buddha) touched the earth, calling out to the Goddess of the Earth, Sthavara, to testify to his purity.

 

The left hand, held flat in the lap in the dhyana (meditation) mudra, personifies “the union of method and wisdom, samasara and nirvana, and also the realisations of the conventional and ultimate truths” (https://www.lotussculpture.com/mudras.htm). The Bhumisparsha Mudra therefore symbolises Buddha’s victory over Mara, the demon that embodies “the Tempter, the forces of greed, hatred and delusion” (https://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/buddhist_ceremonies_1.html).

After the torso and refining of the fingers, hands, feet and robe of the statue comes the difficult task of crafting the face.  Pi Took feels that when most people look at a Buddha image, they tend to look at the face first. This is why she wants to spend enough time mindfully crafting it.

“The Mind Is Everything. What You Think You Become.” – Buddha

Working on the statue is almost like meditating. “It’s like communicating with Buddha. I talk to him and it seems like he is talking back to me! I feel close to Dhamma. This helps me become aware of my emotions. I need to clear my mind because I have to focus and put positive energy into it or the statue will not come out right.”

Panyaden Buddha photo and Took by Ally Taylor Ajahn Decha, Bamboo Master Builder of Chiangmai Life Construction looking at Buddha
Buddha Photo by Ally Taylor for Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai

 

Further reading about different styles of Buddha images and the meaning of their gestures/positions:
https://www.lotussculpture.com/mudras.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iconography_of_Gautama_Buddha_in_Laos_and_Thailand
https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/buddhist-art/flash/thaiart-flash.html

Today

Curious Visitors

Many curious people have dropped in to tour Panyaden School since we began construction last year. Some groups such as the fourth year architecture students from Chiangmai University visiting today, are fascinated by how such mundane materials can be creatively integrated using both ancient and modern building techniques.

Adobe bricks by Chiangmai Life Construction, earth and bamboo construction company in Thailand Architecture student drawing school designed by Chiangmai Life Construction

 Markus Roselieb, owner of green Chiangmai Life Construction, at Panyaden School Armed with sketchbooks and notepads, the students observe and feel the materials, the walls and salas and scribble notes. Led by their renowned Professor, Ajahn Julaporn (an expert in traditional Thai architecture), they bombard Ajahn Decha, our bamboo specialist and master builder, with questions about earth building techniques and types of local bamboo used here.

Other visitors sometimes come by to talk to Markus Roselieb, the Project Manager of the construction and Co-Founder of Panyaden School, about why he decided on using bamboo and earth for construction, and if his company will help them build their own eco-friendly homes. Most of these guests are also parents who want to check out the facilities and to find out more about its curriculum.

These visitors come from Thailand and elsewhere in the world. Today, one of them hails from Alaska! He, like many others, wants to know about the school’s Buddhist and environmentally friendly principles and what it hopes to achieve.

Panyaden School Bamboo building built by Chiangmai Life Construction, green company in Thailand Building built by bamboo and earth company in Chiang Mai, Chiangmai Life Construction at Panyaden School

Outside the majestic bamboo, earth and stone Assembly Hall, a famous Thai celebrity is interviewing Yodphet Sudsawad, the School Founder, about why and how she believes that Buddhist principles can be applied to a modern education, about the school’s vision, and its green practices.

Today is another busy day for the Panyaden team who is always happy to share its vision and environmentally friendly practices with the many guests who care about the same issues.

Open House Day, 28 Nov 2010

“It Feels Good.”

“Mommy, I feel like this is the right school for me. It feels good.”

– Bodhi Kuchel, 7 years old, tugging at his mother’s skirt as she chats with Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas.

Bodhi, his little brother and their mother were some of the 150 – 160 visitors to Panyaden School’s Nursery/Kindergarten Open House Day on Sunday, 28 November. He particularly enjoyed the bamboo organ and even taught a few of us adults how to walk through it smartly and how to carefully negotiate any obstacles.

Another young girl, who was too shy to even say hello, was busy playing with a bamboo musical instrument. Her father, K. Tan Noparatteailas, says that his daughter likes the school and does not want to leave. He and his wife are happy that Panyaden School is bi-lingual because they want their daughter to study English in a Buddhist environment.

It was a packed day of fun and activities for the children who were treated to interactive music and dance performances, enacted stories about a dragon who would not go to school; and other lively games like building the tallest Bamboo Tower and playing with musical instruments made out of bamboo and paper.

Their parents were also not left out. When not participating in the games and activities, they listened to P’Tik (Founder of the School) and Neil Amas speak in English and Thai about Panyaden School’s vision and core principles based on the teachings of Buddhism.

Neil also mentioned that part of the learning process includes the “5Es” which are “Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate” (these were demonstrated in the various activities organized today). The “5Es” process will be taught in a peaceful and environmentally-friendly atmosphere.

Parents and guests were taken on an orientation of the School. They were also invited to spend some time going through the exhibition which detailed for them the School’s approach to learning, general information about curriculum, the use of natural materials for the building, the bamboo treatment process, information about rammed earth and environmental management. This is all part of the process of educating children who will grow up to be responsible, sensible and creative adults who are equipped to contribute to society in mindful, caring ways.

Parents who had concerns such as whether the bamboo roofs provided adequate shelter from the rain, about the curriculum and what Panyaden means by ‘training of the mind’ and so on, were able to speak with the teachers and organizers, or to make appointments for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her team.

K. Thanpong Wongkasem, the parent of a 1 and a half-year old girl, says, “This is a new approach in Chiang Mai. I like the building and the environment; the way they plan to teach the children about recycling and caring for nature.

I am in construction and property development. I think the construction is strong; the bamboo has been reinforced by steel rods where necessary. Some people might not like it because they think it’s dirty and dusty but it is actually not.”

All in all, it was a good day. There was much laughter and activity especially amongst the younger visitors for which the School is being built. Both P’Tik and Markus Roselieb, the Founders of the School gave a resounding “Great!” when asked about how they felt about seeing the School come alive with so many happy children today.

Thank you to the members of the press, guests, parents and children for your support. Thank you also to the organizers and the Panayden School Team for all their hard work in putting together an interesting and eye-opening day.

We now look forward to the completion of the construction, and to the start of the School next year. Please contact us with any enquiries or requests for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her staff.

Also see article in Chiangmai Mail, Vol. IX No. 40

A green school leads the way in reducing carbon emissions

Ecological footprint, carbon footprint, reduce your carbon emissions. Yes, you’ve heard it all before: about how we should reduce our various ‘footprints’ because we are hurting the environment, how each individual step can tip the ecological scale.

They are all true but hear me out before you roll your eyes at yet another ‘green’ lecture. Reducing your ‘carbon footprint’ is not about following a trend, conforming to a marketable buzzword, earning credits or about shouting out what you are doing to the whole world. It is simply about taking steps to balance out what you take from nature and your environment, and how you can respectfully return that favour.

In The Beginning. William Rees first used the phrase ‘ecological footprint’ in 1992 to describe the weight of what we take from the land and its ability to continue providing those resources. He talked about the “total area of land that is required to sustain its urban region” (Environment and Urbanization, https://eau.sagepub.com/content/4/2/121). This area is the land’s ‘ecological footprint’.

Somewhere along the line, the phrase became ‘carbon footprint’ which is a subset of the ecological footprint. It specifically refers to measuring the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we release (in a year) to sustain our daily activities and how this weighs on our environment.

Calculating the size of our carbon footprint is a tool that tells us which steps of our activities discharge a large amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) so that we can find ways to reduce that emission.

Primary Footprint. This is a measure of our direct emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and GHG from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. cars and buses). We have direct control of these.

Secondary Footprint. This measures the indirect CO2 and GHG emissions (embedded carbon) from the whole life cycle of products (manufacture, material & product transportation, installation etc) such as electricity and household appliances that we use in daily life. We may not have direct control of these.

Panyaden School’s Footprint. Panyaden School is diligently committed to keeping both its primary and secondary footprints small by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Together with Chiangmai Life Construction (CLC) and Utility Business Alliances (UBA), this green school is first assessing how much CO2 is produced from the time the first piece of bamboo (or any building material) is trucked to the construction factory to the end of the construction of each sala or building.

For example,

1 ton of clay has 0.0029 tons* of embedded carbon (tCO2 or tons of carbon dioxide released to make a kilogram of clay) + carbon emissions from transporting this clay to the construction site = x ton of CO2 (size of footprint).

By contrast, the process of making concrete generates a lot more carbon dioxide. 1 ton of concrete emits approximately 0.7 to 1 ton of embedded CO2. Add this to the transportation emissions and you understand why the ecological footprint of clay is only a fraction of this.

After this initial round of calculations, the School also plans to collect and analyze data including staff and school activities, the type/number of pieces of furniture used along with the amount of electricity spent for its operations.

While collecting the necessary construction data, the School is also actively trying to keep its CO2 emissions low. This is part of its responsibility to the community and to the environment. It also aims to educate its schoolchildren about environmental management such as how to reduce and recycle waste and how to conserve electricity.

Keeping It Low. What are the steps Panyaden School is taking to minimize and offset its carbon emissions?

1 Building Materials. The School maintains a small carbon footprint by choosing to build its infrastructures with natural materials like bamboo, stone and earth. Cement, concrete and steel rods are only used for foundations and support where appropriate.

When the structures’ rammed earth and adobe walls are demolished at the end of their life cycle, the earth will be returned to the soil and can be recycled again and again. This may be a long time coming but it is necessary to plan ahead and minimize any negative consequences of our current actions on the future of the natural world, our future.

2 Energy and electricity use. Panyaden’s decision to use natural building materials also goes a long way in conserving electricity. The rammed earth walls and floors, free-form adobe walls and bamboo structures are great for ventilation. The earth walls are excellent at absorbing heat during the day and keeping the rooms cool. There is no need for air-conditioning except in rooms that have computers.

3 Transportation. Carbon footprint data include modes of transportation and the distance between the source of supply and the construction site; how many trips and how much diesel and/or petrol are used. As an approximation, 100 litres of diesel produces about 312 kg* of CO2. Shorter and fewer trips via trucks = less diesel burned = less carbon released.

Efficient planning is needed to minimize travel and where possible, materials like earth are ‘harvested’ from the school grounds or sourced locally in Chiang Mai. The construction factory, CLC, is also located only about 2.7 km from the School – another saving on the amount and cost of fuel expended to transport building materials to the site.

4 Waste generation. Any waste on the construction site is recycled where possible. Leftover bamboo, for example, can be re-used as wooden nails (dowels), water mugs and scaffolds. Ground water from the site itself is pumped via simple pipes and used for various building work processes.

Chiangmai Life Construction bamboo worker at Panyaden, English school in Chiang Mai

The teachers will also educate the children to be mindful about food and water usage. Any waste will be treated and recycled with low-energy waste management devices like the Food Waste Digester and Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Food waste: UBA estimates that 450 children and teachers (1 meal a day) may produce about 70 to 80kg of organic waste. The Food Waste Digester installed outside the kitchen/dining hall will recycle the waste into biogas (a renewable energy from organic mass) for cooking. The remaining solid waste from the Digester will be used as organic fertilizer (see post on the FWD).

Wastewater: Each person at the School may generate approximately 60 litres of wastewater per day. This liquid waste can be easily treated by the Wastewater Treatment Plant and safely drained into the natural waterways (see post on the WWT Plant). Per litre of wastewater that has been properly treated emits only 0.0012 kg of CO2 .

5 Plants. Aside from aesthetics, planting bamboo and other trees around the school is a great way to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to release oxygen into the atmosphere.

Bamboo to be planted by Chiangmai Life Construction at Panyaden

6 Staff/school activities and transportation. Simple but efficient methods of further reducing its carbon footprint will be encouraged when the school is in full operation. These include recycling office and classroom paper, newspapers, drink containers, unplugging appliances when not using them, turning out lights when leaving a room and carpooling.

Cause And Effect. Panyaden School is mindful that every decision it makes will have an impact on its staff, its schoolchildren, the community and the environment. With this knowledge comes the need and the capacity to act responsibly.

Learning about the size of its carbon footprint is another way to help the School do what it can to manage all its resources and activities in sensible and respectful ways that ease and offset some of the burden we place daily on nature to absorb our carbon emissions. This alleviation is a step towards nurturing a healthy balance and harmony with the environment in which we live.

*Thai Greenhouse Gas Organization (TGO) Guidelines

Acknowledgment:
With thanks to K. Alisa (UBA)

Other sources:
https://timeforchange.org
https://www.footprintnetwork.org
https://greenliving.lovetoknow.com
https://www.carbonfootprintconstruction.co.uk

Kindergarten School – Open House Day

Panyaden International School billboard

7 July 2010

This billboard was erected today at the Huay Kaew-Rincome Junction. Check out our website (https://www.panyaden.ac.th) for more information or call 080-078-5115 (when calling from Thailand; from elsewhere, please call +668-0078-5115).

Come visit us on 28 November 2010 (Open House Day) between 9am to 1.30pm.

The Dream

Yodphet Sudsawad, founder of Panyaden International School

The Founder of Panyaden

“Curiosity. Innovation. Respect. Sustainability. Holistic Education. Creativity. Inner Peace. Balance. Living with Nature. Buddhist Approach. Environmentally Mindful. Learning Through Experience. Practicing what you have learnt.”

I went away from meeting Khun Yodphet Sudsawad (aka Khun Tik) with these buzz words and phrases swimming furiously in my head. She is an inspiring woman who is building her dream school. These nouns and phrases fly out at you every time she talks about it. Her passion and belief that it is possible to make dreams come true has inspired many like-minded people to come together to build Panyaden School.

Why a school? She believes in training minds from an early age. While working at Phenomena, a renowned Bangkok TV commercial production house, she learnt that the “quality of manpower” and good attitude is as important as professional knowledge. To have this, people need to be trained from an early age.

Having been a follower of Buddhism all her life, she wants her school to provide a sustainable education that is based on the Buddhist principles of ‘sila sikka’ (moral conduct), ‘panya sikka’ (wisdom development) and ‘samadhi sikka’ (mind training).

“Panyaden (also) has to be international, compatible with the best schools in the world. We will give away scholarships for 10 – 20% of the local students.” Pupils will study mathematics, science, computer studies, dance, music and so on in Thai and English.

These studies will be conducted in an environment that is built out of locally available raw materials. Here is a school whose architecture and structure will itself be a big part of the learning process. This idea is strongly supported by her husband, Markus Roselieb, co-Founder of the school and the Project Manager of the construction.

“I wanted to use local materials, which are sustainable and green; to acknowledge them and to learn how they can be used in our daily lives. Armed with this concept, she went about gathering information and teams of people who share the same vision. Now some 80 workers, led by skilled local craftsmen and foreign expertise, work on the site. Building from earth is a local practice in Chiangmai, so I thought about what material will match or go with it and suddenly the idea of bamboo came up, and I knew (then that) it’s possible.

“We started to research the material we’re going to use to make our building sustainable. Luckily, the World Bamboo Congress took place in Thailand about 2 years ago, where all renowned bamboo architects gathered and lectured. One of them was Olav Bruin from 24-H Architecture (Rotterdam) which designed many of Rudolf Steiner’s** schools in Europe. The Rudolf Steiner schools have a creative atmosphere for children to experience and be a part of. I knew that we needed experienced architects to achieve a unique design combined with the local materials, so our children could learn from them.”

A major part of the learning experience is the physical environment that is primarily being built out of bamboo and rammed earth. The school’s unique design was inspired by an antler fern the 24h team found at Tik’s residence. An organic design combined with age-old raw materials and building techniques, whipped together with a large dollop of reverence and care for nature.

Khun Tik wants to give the students a well-rounded education that helps them to think for themselves and to lead by example. “Children have to be able to implement theory and adapt it to use in daily life. Then they know which theory works or which one doesn’t. Everyone in the school, both the children and teachers, have to understand what is sustainable living (this is one part of how to balance your life). When they see their school buildings, they will ask questions about how the school was built and with what materials.”

Here at Panyaden, we want to nurture

  • A Buddhist educational approach that acknowledges nature along with all living and non-living things.
  • A mind that is environmentally aware and alive, able to control its thoughts with confidence and inner peace. Able to think and speak in Thai and English, armed with the necessary knowledge for it to thrive in this increasingly global economy.
  • And finally, a mind that is able to practice what it has learnt and to share it with the community at large.

‘Panya’ – wisdom, insight, knowledge; ‘Den’ – outstanding. The name of the school embodies all these elements that make up the essence of Khun Tik’s dream. And we wish her astounding success.

lotus2 transparent

***Visit the Panyaden Buddhist Bilingual School’s website at https://www.panyaden.org or click on the link on our blog. The site will be launched on 7 July 2010.

** Steiner’s education: https://www.steinerwaldorf.org/whatissteinereducation.html