A world standard education facility
The Neeson Cripps Academy (NCA) provides impoverished Cambodian children with high quality education opportunities through enhanced learning spaces, access to the latest digital technologies, teacher training, a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and designated study spaces, all within an environment conducive to critical thinking and gaining an understanding of the world.
The construction of the Neeson Cripps Academy is a gift from Velcro Companies. Velcro Companies is a technology-driven organisation that provides solutions for businesses and consumers around the world, and is committed to advancing education and improving the lives of children across the globe. The building is named after Robert Cripps, former Velcro Companies Chairman, and Scott Neeson, Founder and Executive Director of the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
“I arrived here in 2004 with the simple aim of getting children off of the appalling Steung Meanchey garbage dump and into school,” said Scott Neeson. “Today, with a solid, developed, world education program in place, and so many students moving into secondary school and high school, we need to ensure a smooth path to university and into careers that challenge our youth and meet the demands of Cambodia’s fast growing economy. We knew the need and potential, and Velcro Companies and the Cripps family brought the vision to life: a state-of-the art STEM learning centre. After 12 tough years working here, the Neeson Cripps Academy is a remarkable gift. The poorest children in Cambodia can now access the best education. I can’t thank the Cripps family and Velcro Companies enough for their support of CCF and Cambodian education”.
“We feel privileged to continue our work with the Cambodian Children’s Fund”
“We feel privileged to continue our work with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) and establish the Neeson Cripps Academy to educate children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to world-class teachers and resources,” said Fraser Cameron, President and CEO, Velcro Companies. “Through this partnership, we’re also inspiring the next generation of innovators and honoring our long-time former Chairman, Robert Cripps, and his commitment to leadership.”
The landmark building was designed pro-bono by acclaimed New York firm CookFox Architects. The ecologically integrated design and sustainable strategies help create a healthy environment for learning and limit the school’s water and energy usage. Along with low energy lighting and natural ventilation, other features include open-air learning spaces, and integrated bamboo and terracotta solar shading.
The rooftop features a garden that minimises solar heat gain, reduces stormwater runoff, and provides educational opportunities, and a covered, multi-purpose athletic court facilitates outdoor activities in all conditions. Using biophilic design principles, the school incorporates natural and biomimetic materials. Exposed concrete is patterned with a design inspired by traditional Khmer textiles, imprinting the school of the future with a connection to the rich cultural history of Cambodia.
European hedge fund management company Marshall Wace contributed to the fit out of the building, which includes international standard science laboratories.
“Our studio believes deeply in the concept of global citizenship. We are thrilled to design a state of the art educational environment to support CCF, Velcro Companies, and Marshall Wace’s passion in training the next generation of leaders.” said architect Rick Cook.
“The children and youth in the largely impoverished Steung Meanchey communities”
“The children and youth in the largely impoverished Steung Meanchey communities have hungered for an opportunity to study. To meet that hunger with a quality education and the prospect of a university degree, we will give children the tools they need to lead their family and community to a better life”, said Scott Neeson.
“The NCA will introduce a new level of science and technology education in Cambodia. All high school students enrolled in CCF’s education program will use the facility, and it will serve as a teacher-education centre and hub for the local community.”
Marshall Wace paid tribute to the aims of the NCA to become a leading light in education in Cambodia and beyond.
“The enormous opportunities this pioneering facility will soon provide to thousands of students and teachers is simply unparalleled in Cambodia and testament to the vision of Scott Neeson and his team.” said Chris Pearce, C.O.O at Marshall Wace Asia. “We look forward to the NCA becoming a commanding flagship for all the excellent work being done to educate local children by CCF, as well becoming the first centre of excellence to develop the local teaching community.”
The key objectives of the NCA are to provide:
- International standard science laboratories
- Support e-Learning throughout the facility
- Open and flexible study areas
- Building layout focused on collaboration
- Large, flexible areas for community use – including community education programs
- A teacher training hub, for use by both CCF and public school teachers
- Virtual international exchanges
About the Building
The ecologically integrated school provides a high-quality education that includes a robust English language program, STEM subjects, and access to the latest digital technologies and global connectivity through e-Learning.
The building’s sustainable strategies helps create a healthy environment for learning and limits the school’s water and energy usage. Operating costs are reduced by low energy lighting, low flow fixtures, abundant natural light and integrated solar shading. Programmatically, the building is conceived in two parts. A long, east-west oriented wing takes advantage of the local climate conditions with natural ventilation, open-air learning spaces, and a shading screen of bamboo on the southern facade. The north-south wing contains the school’s science and technology spaces, which are conditioned by highly efficient mechanical systems and shaded by deep terracotta horizontal and vertical fins.
A significant portion of the five-story building is dedicated to flexible gathering spaces designed to encourage long-term social networks and collaborative learning, and to provide meeting areas for the wider community. The ground level is open to provide a covered gathering space with a visual connection to the large courtyard garden, and to reduce the school’s vulnerability to flooding. The rooftop features plantings that minimise solar heat gain, reduce stormwater runoff, and provide educational opportunities in the curriculum, and a covered, multi-purpose athletic court to facilitate outdoor activities in all conditions.
Using biophilic design principles, the school incorporates natural and biomimetic materials. Exposed concrete is patterned with a design inspired by traditional Khmer textiles, imprinting the school of the future with a connection to the rich cultural history of Cambodia’s past.
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