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  • Client
    Limbodra Seva Samaj
  • Project Type
  • Scope
  • Team
    Narendra Mangwani, Nidhi Parikh, Prabhuti Desai, Khushboo Anandpura
  • Photography

Learning between the Trees

Gandhinagar, India

The client came to us with a brief to design a school campus adjacent to the existing school in the rural setting of Limbodara village near Ahmedabad. Client had a preconceived notion of a school being a solid build mass which required to chop off 24 existing well grown neem trees. It took us three years to convince the client that a school can be re-imagined and designed in a manner in which all these trees could be integrated in design and we could actually save them. Then the real challenge started when we sat on the drawing board and started putting the functions “between the trees”.

Learning ‘between’ the trees became the spine idea of the project where the classroom boundary blurs and meets the outdoor learning environment. Trees become visual retreats from the classroom, opening vistas to the students. The square classroom makes ‘checker board’ typology ofinstitutions, making trees part of the internal courts as well as part of the outdoor learning environment.

Each classroom is accessed from the central courtyard with large trees and also has a private court. The central court thus becomes the integral part of the school which now is used the assembly, festival celebrations, congregation in the breaks and so on.

Looking at school campus, not just as a mean of built classroom and unbuilt courts, we started looking at the school as a learning environment, where the building envelope becomes textbook. Kids can learn from anything around them, then why should the walls, floor & ceiling eb left as it is? Why can’t walls become planes where kids can express themselves, why can’t walls becomes planes to learn from?

We designed each wall inside the class rooms as well as outside, wherein they imbibe some information.  Class room were painted with inscriptions from their curriculum, whereas the outside walls inscriptions range from space & planets to trade routes on world map. The central court carries floor games, painted on the cement floor imbuing the values of “good” human being, imparting honesty, truth, hard work, etc as virtues.

School projects like this we believe, are ever growing. Growth is part of institutions. We imagined the school to expand, grow with times as capacity increases and yet adapt to the changing technology in education. The module comes handy here, where the second phase of the project was to add admin block with staff areas and principal room along with 2 classrooms. The existing trees again helped in setting the grid of built – un built.

Hopefully, soon the school will have more intake and phase 3 will yet gain bring in the trees within the built form and learning between the trees continues…