News from the Field

New home for ISDSI!

This has been in the works for awhile, and if you follow us Instagram or Facebook you’ve seem some of this already.

After a multi-year search, we’ve located some empty land in Chiang Mai that is still centrally located (which is important for the host families and our students!), and are going to build a new place for ISDSI!

We have a long-term lease on the land, and our design will be based around principles of sustainable architecture:

  • We are “up-cycling” used shipping containers that would otherwise be part of the waste stream. This reduces our carbon footprint by minimizing concrete and new materials, and saves the massive amounts of energy that would be used to recycle the containers (due to the type of steel they are very difficult/impossible to recycle).
  • The classrooms and offices are taking advantage of natural light, rainwater harvesting, LED lighting and other sustainable design features.
  • The site we are building on is a “brown field” — land that has been used/landfilled/abandoned, so we are not pulling otherwise productive forest or rice fields out of production.
  • We are going to be working on a long-term site remediation plan, using principles of restoration agriculture and permaculture to restore the ability of the site to absorb rainwater as well as provide green space, edible landscaping, etc.
  • We already have some HUGE acacia trees (rain trees) on the site, as well as others.  We are building in such a way to minimize disturbing the trees, and will be planting even more trees once the construction is complete (including fruit trees such as banana, papaya and others).

The new site will allow ISDSI to continue to grow and host multiple student groups at a time, as well as serve as an example of urban sustainability and eventually urban agriculture as well.

Here are some additional renderings of the new building.  The top floor is going to be our large seminar room.  The second floor is classrooms and a library/co-working space, with the ground floor offices, classrooms and a commons area.

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