Architects: Apurva Amin Architects
Location: Ahmedabad, India
Structural Consultant: Saurachana Strucon
Landscape Consultant: Apurva Amin Architects
Civil Contractor: Tricon, Tejas Shah
Photographs: Courtesy of Apurva Amin Architects
Nirma VidyaVihar, an initiative of the Nirma Education & Research Foundation (NERF), to explore value-based education through offering an enabling environment for the young minds, to discover and achieve their potential, is situated in Ahmedabad and comprises of pre-primary, primary and middle school sections. The school is equipped with spacious and well-ventilated academic classes, activity rooms, laboratories, curricular and extra-curricular activity spaces. The design follows a very austere geometry, respecting its dignity as an institution, which is carefully inter-woven with bold and playful elements that gives the school its vivacious character. The experience of the school is a carefully crafted journey with spaces free flowing into each other yet directional. The geometry is an amalgamation of straight rectangular functional spaces along with elliptical and free flowing transitions and curvilinear service areas. The designing and planning of the school is an attempt to redefine the experience of the school by eliminating the monotony of a usual school with long corridors and uninteresting vistas.
‘A mélange of free flowing art, effortlessly combining with the crisp lines of architecture’ is what portrays this school. The murals and art installations of the school like ‘the mosaic mural wall’, ‘the scrap arc’, ‘the puzzle façade’ and ‘the inverted tree’ are incorporated with a thought of creating a spark in the young minds. Starting from the drop-off, a series of sequential surprises unfolds, the suave increase in levels, with various colorful steps, draws us to the lively entrance foyer which then opens out to a visual treat of the lawn through the ‘scrap arc’. The separation of paths from the entrance foyer happen in a interesting and dramatic way, a formal and clear entry to the administration, a quaint stair-case towards the basement and a bold elliptical foyer, with a stair-case giving its own share of dynamism, takes one to the triple heighted assembly hall. The orientation of the vibrant ‘puzzle façade’, towards the east, welcomes the unsullied morning sun-light, through the cut-outs, creating dancing shadows, breaking down the formal idea of the space, giving a directional vista to the assembly hall and also inviting a bright texture that passes on their vitality to the students.
Open spaces seamlessly merge with the functional areas of the school. The mundane approach of linear corridors, running along the class-rooms, becomes lively because of the elliptical stair-case and suspended bridges and these bridges create a visual connectivity with all the major parts of the school like the assembly hall, the class-rooms, thus increasing the sense of interaction among the students. The class-rooms over-look the puzzle façade and the triple height assembly hall creating visual playful vistas. The small court-yards provided out-side the class-rooms serve as spaces of interaction and spill-over activities.