Volunteer needed to design school in Timor Leste

Published: Wednesday 10 October 2012

Bill Walsh, one of CEFPI NSW active Chapter members is hoping to find a volunteer architect to assist in the design of a new secondary school in a remote Timor area. Can you help?

Brill writes....'On a recent trip, an Australian  nun I met in Timor Leste spoke with me about the parish building a new secondary school in a remote part of the country. The design she talked about seemed to me to be traditional Portuguese 1950s (as a former Portuguese colony,  the Portuguese are very influential in TL). I suggested that she could leap into the 21st century by a better designed school with more use of multi-purpose spaces for modern teaching methods and to save cost – money is very tight. Without a better design the school will be lots of small boxes with separate spaces for hall, gym, library, corridors and multiple laboratories, and so on. The school also needs to be better designed for tropical conditions, TL is 8 degrees south of the Equator and around 35C each day and there will no air conditioning, any electricity will be from a generator.

The parish hoping to build the school has no access to a modern school architect, probably just a draughtsman. To assist, I’m looking for an architect or architectural firm that could help the locals with a few design ideas. The catch is that there is no money for fees, the assistance would have to be voluntary but would not involve project supervision, just helping with initial design ideas. There is no money to pay an airfare  to TL. The person(s) would likely spend 3-4 days there and incur the travel and time costs. This will be voluntary aid for a third-world country. There will be no accommodation/food/travel costs within TL and to Maliana where the project is, but the accommodation/food/travel will be very, very basic, more like camping conditions. The roads are very primitive, I went to Balibo while in TL, some 80 kms from the capital Dili; the trip took three hours each way in a 4WD vehicle. Most facilities and infrastructure in TL are of that standard.  

Perhaps there may be a kind soul out there who is just waiting for the opportunity to do some voluntary design work in an impoverished country, or who would like to know about Timor Leste. If someone is able to go to TL I would likely go with them as ‘guide’. The school is in planning now so as soon as possible after the end of October when I return from Vietnam would be the time required. I thought there could be some architects who work in tropical Queensland or the Northern Territory who could assist; Dili is just a 1.5 hour flight  from Darwin so no great cost or time from there.

If there is such a person, they could make contact with me at : wwa08794@bigpond.net.au  ,+61 4 39076877, +61 2 66875387'

Many thanks,

Bill Walsh