Ranwas School & Library

CAUKIN Studio , Vanuatu, 2019



Katie Edwards     Download Original

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A new timber and metal clad school and library on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific

In 2015, Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, leaving the country in devastation. Ranwas School was destroyed, leaving the children to be taught in unsuitable temporary shelters. The Tanbok Project Charity, identified the need for a building that could withstand the local climate and humidity of the surrounding area.

The brief posed many challenges; a classroom that must be built to a tight budget using locally sourced materials and a library that decreases relative humidity to achieve an extended lifespan for the books stored within. Due to the rural and mountainous island location, the space is subjected to high humidity year round, with data readings peaking at 99%! It’s location meant that all materials had to endure a 25.5 hour boat and 4x4 truck journey to site.

The building form, composed of a timber frame with natural cladding and a metal roof, allows for a sloped facade that reduces water contact on walls, whilst providing an internal bench, cross ventilation and high ceiling. The library utilises the sun’s heat on black metal roofing to increase air temperature and reduce relative humidity, maintaining a drier atmosphere for the books. Stack ventilation draws a continuous flow of moisture rich air out of the building, whilst an end-grain timber wall acts as a humidity buffer, absorbing excess moisture. The shelving creates regular spacers, ensuring that air passes over a larger surface area of the books, wicking moisture away.

A central ladder in the library leads to a small mezzanine that opens above the veranda through a circular door, creating a cosy reading space. Woven bamboo walls create a breathable cladding at zero cost - enabling future maintenance by the community, independently.

The construction took place in 8 weeks, with a team of 15 international participants from design schools and practices, working alongside 50 local people.

Project & Construction Managers: Harrison Marshall, David Mahon. Project Construction Team: Aaron Chan, Greg Cockburn, Nicole Johnson, Adonai Boamah-Nyamekye, Bethany Stewart, Amanda Selormey, Alice Reynolds-Pryce, Gwyneth Chan, Jagoda Lintowska, Soni Gurung, Samuel Napleton, Danel Jansen van Rensburg, Huxley Edwards, William, Jesse, Jason, Tom, Hancy, David, Simon, Gibson, Randy, Frank, The Balkonan Family, The Olulu Family, The Bule Family, The Bong Family, The Wano Family, The Watas Family, The Torlsu Family, The Tabak Family.


  • Begun: Jul 2019
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £27,370
  • Funding: Charitable donations to The Tanbok Project Charity
  • Tender date: Nov 2018
  • Procurement: Community Design & Build
  • Address: Ranwas Village, Pentecost Island, , Vanuatu, Fiji Islands

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