An exploratory educational environment

Project: The Rajasthan School, Ras, Rajasthan

Architects: SANJAY PURI ARCHITECTS, MUMBAI

Imbibing the organic character of Indian villages and old cities, the Rajasthan School is a low-rise three-level school with open, enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces of varying volumes. Taking cognizance of the desert climate of its location, which has temperatures in excess of 35°C for most of the year, each of the classrooms are north oriented to derive indirect sunlight. The auditorium, primary school and administration space occupy the southern side of the plot, opening into a large, sheltered open area towards the north, beyond which the secondary school classrooms, library and cafeteria are located. The semi-sheltered courtyard has multiple angular pathways, connecting the two parts of the school with landscaped play spaces that foster engagement. Traversed by a series of linear trapezoidal frames and sun-breakers, this focal area has a constantly changing shadow pattern depending on the sun’s direction throughout the day. The layout is intentionally fragmented, allowing open landscaped spaces to be interspersed with the school’s learning spaces. The entire school opens towards a multipurpose playground and athletics track on the northern side.

All circulation is through open, naturally ventilated corridors that traverse and skirt the focal semi-sheltered landscaped court in the centre. Angled vertical walls act as sun breakers to reduce heat gain from the east, west and south sides, generating cooler internal spaces. The complete electrical power requirement is generated by the residual energy of a cement plant nearby. In addition, the entire water is recycled and reused. The building by its design is thus, extremely energy efficient.

The organic layout creates a different character to each part of the school, orienting each space with different views and perceptions. The Rajasthan School derives its character from the organic old cities with an informal layout, interspersed with open and enclosed volumes, and designed in response to the hot climate, thus creating a school that is exploratory in multiple ways.

Photo credit: Dinesh Mehta
Drawing credit: Sanjay Puri Architects

FACTFILE
Client: Shree Cement Ltd

Lead architect: Sanjay Puri

Design team: Ishveen Bhasin, Ankush Malde, Pooja Prajapati

Consultants: Engineering – Dr. Kelkar Designs Pvt Ltd;

Services – Epsilon Design Consultancy Pvt Ltd; Landscape – Sanjay Puri Architects

Construction: RCC structure

Finishes: Sand-faced plaster and exterior paint

Plot area: 17,651 sq m

Built-up area: 8,640 sq m

Year of completion: 2020