Text description provided by the architects. Designing a school is always exciting and challenging since it is about dealing with the energy of children of different age groups, from nursery kids to adolescent teens. Each age group has specific psychological and physical need which has implication on architecture and conceiving of spaces. From a tender age of four, children spend most time of the day in school.
Hence school has to be a place where both teachers and students can learn and play, a place where they get inspired. While designing for children, an image of children exploring a space with no boundaries can be very inspiring- where they have the chance to touch and feel materials, respond to them. Eye levels can also be exploited and be made exciting for children. There are also different kinds of needs and curiosities that have to be met - to allow the young child to try and catch a ray of sunlight in their hands, for older children to have space for studying alone or in group, spaces for individual teaching. While designing schools, architecture offers immense potential and freedom, which also needs to be accompanied by understanding and observations on how children use and experience space through the years which we have tried to integrate in Ekya school.
The CMR Ekya School in Bangalore has a total site area of 1.41 Acres, and accommodates students from kindergarten to Class 12. The kindergarten has a total of 10 classrooms, and rest of the classes has four sections each with laboratories and other administrative facilities.
The ground floor is segregated into two zones ‑ one for the kindergarten, which has its own drop off and pickup area, and the second for the administrative facilities, separated from the kindergarten to give the young children the required security and privacy. The rest of the ground floor area is kept open, and becomes a part of the play area for students. The school has a play area consisting of a basketball court, volleyball and throw ball courts, two cricket practice pitches, a swimming pool and a play area for kindergarten in addition to other double and triple height covered play areas for the children.
There are two layers of classrooms planned around the play area, with a corridor becoming a spine connecting the two layers. The corridors and bridges are staggered to have trees and plants and also to bring in light for the lower floors. The amphitheater at the ground floor provides a gradual transition between the ground and the first floor.
There is a play of volume and light along the corridor. Wind tunnels are located after every two classrooms, which open into the corridor areas keeping the entire school campus including all the classrooms well ventilated and naturally lit, thus reducing energy consumption. The campus is made disabled-friendly by providing ramps and lifts to access all the levels. There are a lot of details in terms of railings, pin up boards, doors –windows, use of colours specifically developed to deal with different age groups.
Our attempt is to create spaces that would complement the scale and energy of a child using elements of nature to create a happy place.