Smiling Gecko

2021

atelier oï with Smiling Gecko (KH)

To mark our 30th birthday, on June 21st 2021, we are very proud to announce a unique collaboration between atelier oï & Smiling Gecko.

«a partnership with a big ambition»

atelier oï encountered the Swiss artist and founder of Smiling Gecko, Hannes Schmid, for the first time in 2019. Hannes Schmid and his team pursue the objective to enable and promote the ability of the rural population in Cambodia to live self-determined lives. The holistic approach of the NGO is based on the following intertwined pillars: agriculture and animal husbandry, manufacturing and trade, tourism and hospitality, as well as education. This impressed us tremendously and led to a unique collaboration between Smiling Gecko and atelier oï – a partnership with great ambition.

«education has the power to change a country»

We see education as a process that makes the impossible possible, step by step. Cambodia is in utter need of change - and education, as a lasting enabler, plays the most crucial role in its development.
For this reason Smiling Gecko and atelier oï have joined forces for an architectural project with a greater cause: the implementation of a “University of Applied Sciences”. The tertiary level education in the fields of agriculture, food production and environmental sciences will guarantee a wide application of skills to benefit the local people based on the expertise and experiences of involved institutions such as the ZHAW in Switzerland.

The “University of Applied Sciences” will contribute to food security, poverty reduction and social development and has the potential to shape the educational system for an ever-increasing number of future generations in Cambodia.

«bamboo as a living part of the architecture»

We have embarked on a common mission to create a unique place in rural Cambodia, two hours north of the capital Phnom Penh, which is built in close collaboration with, and for, the local community. We clearly understand this project as a participative and transdisciplinary process, with the goal of providing the best possible response to local needs. The architecture of the “University of Applied Sciences” is designed and inspired by traditional knowledge – combining roof and platforms to create bio-climatic environments. Bamboo, an entirely local resource, will be the main construction material for the buildings. We fully consider the dynamic aspect of the living and growing plants as part of the architecture. In its early conceptual stage, the proposed building is designed for deep immersion as well as creative inspiration by providing a landscape-like learning environment in close connection with nature. This project will continue to accompany us in the coming months and years and we are truly happy to keep you updated.

VIDEO atelier oï & Smiling Gecko

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