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If the walls were permeable, would the learning be too?



Renders of the proposed space

A living school

Competition Entry for IGBC Green Design Competition 2011. Won 2nd place nationally.

IGBC Competition Brief: “To design a sustainable, affordable, green school for the urban poor or rural community.”

We approached the brief by not just designing the built space, but developing a philosophy for the learner and the learning-Creation of an identity, promoting individuality, and sensitising a child as a learner. Could the space affect and influence the learning and vice-versa? Could the learning be as alive as the building which 'homes' it?

To represent this philosophy, we drew inspiration from a ‘fingerprint’- the mark of uniqueness of an individual. Thus the ideology influenced the form, and the form would become the basis for the school’s plan, structure and system.

The highlight of the school is the central amphitheatre/ atrium which, symbolically, acts as the platform for students to express and be themselves. It is the confluence of all the activities of the school and the people who make the space while being non-hierarchical.

The building is designed to be mindful of the sun’s position and the wind movement, and uses natural light and ventilation, locally sourced materials with minimum use of concrete.


We propose a light on-surface structure with low operational & maintenance cost, with less earth excavation for its foundation. However the time and effort required to maintain the building increases, which we hope becomes a point of cross-learning and mindfulness for a learner.

Beyond this, the conventional classroom spaces are open and permeable with a flexible, expandable system of thin bamboo walls which uses volumetric space as natural sound barriers.

Since it is for India, the school has a semi-open structure with an overall porous, green canopy to stabilise the ambient temperature. Creating comfortable spaces outside the classroom, we hope, would allow spaces of engagement and learning to flow beyond the walls, and sprout in unconventional places similarly influencing the learner and their identity.

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Detailed Competition Entry (2011)

Project Team:

Lipee Patel and Prachi Joshi

Project Feature:

The project won 2nd prize nationally for the IGBC Green Design Competition 2011. 

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