Diverse Horizons

In a country like India with a large population and rich cultural heritage, how does one picture a School where this co-existence and diversity permeates into a way of life?

This constant question is what slowly started to take form into a design proposal. Looking back, the ancient educational system in India included spaces for active public interaction leading to layers of interconnected gain which in turn formed a sense of ownership within the community. It incorporated spaces such as open arenas, cultivation lands, and collaborative workshops that could be utilized for the needs of the immediate community around the GURUKUL.

Taking advantage of the given site the blocks are planned along an east-west axis with maximum light gain from north and east facades. As explained in the design development diagraming, the open spaces between alternate rooms are designed for the practice of raised cultivation and urban farming while also serving as outdoor learning and gathering areas. The produce from this practice would be utilized for school needs and further for a fresh Vegetable store that helps schools produce revenue while promoting learning and engagement within the neighbourhood.  The architecture of the school acts as an active tool that extends to work directly with the community to build essential life skills drawing inspiration from sustainable essential lessons of ancient India. The use of local material techniques such as Earth wall construction and reviving the Ahar-Pyne system (water harvesting systems of Bihar) acts as a structural ideological base to the design.

Learning areas are oriented East-West to take maximum advantage of Light and ventilation along North Facades. Supporting amenities are zoned to create an intimate central public space that is capable of transforming into space for multiple activities and a green buffer zone on the south is established. The architecture of the school allows one to run through or across blocks and classes without restriction to promote the idea of observatory learning.

A repetitive combination of alternate open and closed spaces along the double-loaded corridor allows the maximum amount of light and free flow of air current through the buildings. The central sunken plaza evokes an inbuilt memory of a city along river banks with its active undulating skyline of vibrant spaces.

the attendance: reconfiguring government schools in india (diverse horizons) | typology: institutional | date: december 2020 | location: patna, india | team: ashish dalal, pratibha christy | international design competition: first prize | client: archmello | built-up area: 11,046 sq.mts. |