On the small Indonesian island Nias, off the western coast of Sumatra, the Kinderdorf St. Antonius orphanage is located. Since 1990 the orphanage has been managed by eight Franciscan nuns. In 2004 and 2005 Tsunamis and earthquakes left many children orphaned. The NGO Caritas Austria, which was already busy with housing reconstruction, invited students of Vienna University of Technology to design and build the urgently needed new multi-purpose building.
During the course of the program, students designed and built the structure which serves primarily as an assembly hall, playroom, and event space for the eighty orphans. The building straddles changing terrain in the middle of the village, with sweeping views of the island and the sea. The students took advantage of this changing topography by creating a central grandstand with seating steps and landings, to link the lobby and library wing (uphill) to the assembly hall (downhill).
The music room and a small craft room are connected with the assembly hall through big sliding and folding doors to create a generous space for various activities. At the request of the nuns, corrugated metal sheets were used as roofing material, while the main structural material available was locally grown timber.
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