Discovery articulated through the assimilation of accumulated knowledge and its evolution through its future extrapolation forms the core of the educational process. The interrogation of the physical environment as a space of discovery and reflexive learning points towards the language of a matrix with nature at its nucleus.
The act of learning as a non-linear polymorphous process….
The balance between order and chaos is critical in unshackling the creative potential within children to develop an ethos of self-learning and self-calibration instead of the overly structured interpretations of conditioned adulthood.
The freedom to congregate, to play, to retreat within oneself, to appropriate one’s environment instinctively and most importantly, to cultivate empathy for nature, for others and for one self; all of these point to a democratic structure, a philosophical NON-DETERMINISM.
The triggers for this proposal are rooted entirely within the land and within the culture of Ahmedabad.
The first experience of the site as a walk connecting two dense clusters of Mango trees was seminal. The entire program could be condensed into a single defining image. Under the shade of the trees, a charpoy and an improvised swing of interlinked cloth pieces expressed the intention to rest, play, and communicate in sympathy with the environment. The primacy of the tree is non- negotiable.
Our Proposal emerges from this attitude. We resisted the urge to restructure the open ground, choosing to weave through the trees to create a matrix of shaded spaces and courtyards around which the learning spaces aggregate.
The trees define the level ground from which the classroom clusters for the early years are only a half level away, eliminating the sense of vertical separation. This has been achieved by embedding the lower level 2.0m into the ground, creating a stepped courtyard and a thermal sink. The ground rises up on the south and west to create thermal banks, rupturing at points to accommodate the existing trees.
The scale of the “institution” as a single coherent building language has been further corroded by the extension of “fingers” through the trees to accommodate the upper classrooms.
Nodes for common areas punctuate this layered network as architecturally expressive follies that act as visual anchors.
The entire program has been physically deconstructed and woven through the trees at different levels, alternating between sunken courts, terraces and elevated prongs, while the ground reacts by lifting and undulating, creating multiple points of connection with the trees.
The resulting SLC’s (self-learning communities) become shaded settlements with non-determinate routes of access. The proximity to nature is constant and pervasive. Learning and discovery takes place in the light of the forest and strictures collapse as spontaneity takes precedence.
Ahmedabad International School 1
- Misbah Jaffery
- 1,15,000 sq.ft.
- Kamal Malik, Arjun Malik, Manish Davane, Jay Jani, Sidika Merchant