Sanjay Puri Builds a School in Rajasthan in Response to Climatic Conditions
Angled courtyard, open spaces cut through with frames that add a sense of mystery giving way to open, enclosed, and semi-enclosed spaces of varying volumes, The Rajasthan School designed by Sanjay Puri imbibes 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 that takes cognizance of the desert climate. With temperatures in excess of 35°C for most of the year, each of the classrooms is north oriented to derive indirect sunlight, while the angled vertical walls that add a sense of ambiguity, also act as sun breakers to reduce heat gain from the other sides, explains Sanjay Puri, who heads the firm Sanjay Puri Architects.
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 direction throughout the day,” says Sanjay Puri.
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.
The structure is not just designed sensitively around the site keeping in mind the climatic conditions of the area along with its site-specificity, the school is also designed as an energy-efficient building. The complete electrical power requirement for the building 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 portion with different views and perceptions while the shadow play imparts a sense of ambiguity to space, attracting students to interact with the surroundings.
The Rajasthan School derives its character from the organic old cities, says Sanjay Puri, whose buildings are known for the dramatic forms they acquire while being in tandem with the surroundings, “With an informal layout, interspersed open and enclosed volumes, The Rajasthan School is designed in response to the hot climate, creating a school that is exploratory in multiple ways.”
CLIENT: Shree Cement Ltd.
SITE AREA: 190,000 sq.ft.
BUILT AREA: 93,000 sq.ft.
LOCATION: Ras, Rajasthan, India
PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT: Sanjay Puri
Photography Courtesy: Sanjay Puri Architects