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Gordon Hunt Cooking School

Gordon Hunt Cooking School

Gordon Hunt Cooking School

Gordon Hunt Cooking School

                                                    © Gordon Hunt 2016. All content by Gordon Hunt unless otherwise stated

Cooking School
                   

 

My client Rob was looking to build a cooking school just outside Luang Prabang in the jungle along the banks of the Mekong River. While Rob had an eye for design and was quite capable himself, he knew that at this scale, his design abilities (he had received no formal design education as he was an engineer) had limits and so had sought out help. I wasn’t the first designer to take on the project – there had been two previous architects who had been unsuccessful in their aspirations - it’s interesting to see what passes as design in some places. Rob knew exactly what he wanted, but the scale and proportions were something that hadn’t been solved, as were several of the program adjacencies and circulation issues. Through a large number of iterations, we reached a solution that we were both happy with. In addition to addressing the aforementioned issues, the design was simple enough for a largely unskilled team of local workers to build. This had been one of the most important design restrictions to arise in Intervention #10, but in this case, the workforce had even fewer skills and tools than its Thai counterpart.

The structure would consist primarily of bamboo, concrete, and masonry, while the roof would be constructed out of bamboo and palm tree leaves (which make for a remarkably good roof). In terms of siting, the jungle with stunning views up the Mekong provided a location that I was thrilled to work with. In addition to views, the site featured a teak forest with a beautiful canopy, a massive mango tree, several huge bamboo clusters, and an assortment of fruit trees. However, given time restraints and the site accessibility, I decided to leave most of the landscape design to Rob, who was probably more capable than I as he had done all the landscaping at Utopia. I did consider several major site design moves however: I placed the entry approach through the bamboo clusters, situated an outdoor dining pergola far from the cooking area, and placed the main building as far back on the site as possible.