The residential school is located in Thaiyur, and the main entry is off the OMR, through the Thaiyur Road. The design of the school focuses on incorporating the basic ideals of “Transformation” as the sanskrit meaning of the name “Vivartana” suggests. The environment has been designed to to attain the highest ideals of Sustainability, to provide a nurturing environment for the transformation of children to becoming responsible citizens. The building, through its Architecture and Design, will strive to be landmark space for education. The ethos and principles of the school reflect the design of the space.
The designs and layouts have been inspired by the gurukala system, the ancient learning system in India. The entire school is divided into four blocks – 2 level Multipurpose Hall, 3 level Secondary Block, 2 level KG Block and 2 level Dormitory Block. Spaces are nature-centric, surrounded with trees in the midst of calming landscape. The school structure itself is envisioned as a “Semi Open” block surrounded by greenery and water along the canal front.
The zoning has been done to situate the Primary school in the linear part of the site. The labs have been integrated with the Middle/High school structure and residential at the southernmost end of the site, undisturbed by the school activities. All the spaces have been designed to be flexible to adapt to the future requirements like smart class rooms with connectivity, and expansions at a later stage when additional classes & facilities are added.
As a matter of fact, the future expansion of the school will be an integral part of the school’s design, to ensure that zoning is done for modular expansion and ease of construction, especially during the academic year.
The elevations on the on the western side have been treated based on the Analysis of the Sun Path. Given the linear nature of the site, the blocks have been situated to ensure maximum day-lighting. The daily winds from the South East have been maximised by placing open courtyards and buildings responding to the eastern edge. The buildings have been placed in along the western edge to create shaded areas for outdoor activities for the children. Open Play areas, which are usually private due to security and safety of the children, have been situated at the back, and inaccessible by Visitors or Traffic.
The materials, inspired by the local architecture of the Pallava period, have been sourced from Mahabalipuram and form the basis of the design of the Entry and Landscaped areas of the school. Local building techniques such as the Filler slab and Country Brick Jaali have been planned to encourage and showcase vernacular workmanship. This makes all the classrooms cool, open and airy, with a strong connection to nature and the surrounding environment.
Small cheese holes are playful introductions to the walls that encourage children to play peek-a boo along their way to class. Playful ‘doors within doors’ bring the scale down to primary school children and allow them to have a special access into classes.
As part of the main green features, the Rain Water Harvesting, Waste Water Treatment plant and Solar Power have been implemented. Modular Solar Panels cover about 6% of the power requirements of the school, with provision for additional capacity expansion in future. The solar plant is located above the dormitory block and is connected with kitchen equipment. The building’s conventional construction techniques and white painted walls work for easy maintenance and good solar reflectivity.
A view of the dorm block
As part of the landscape, varieties of native trees have been planted. Decorative trees like palm and gulmohar are planted along the front entry. The traditional Neem and Peepal trees form the central feature of the play court of KG Block, they also filter air that blows across, and integrates gurukula concept of learning. Shade trees and fruit trees like Mango, Papaya and Guava dot the western edge of the site to provide shading from the harsh rays of the western sun. Ayurvedic shrubs like thulsi and amla, are planted along the nature trail on the periphery of the site to assist with the education in Indian medicine and to provide medicinal value. Multiple coconut trees provide shade and tower the school building, creating interesting shadows based on the time of the day and rays of the sun. The Residential Block is surrounded by an Organic Garden, and are filled with plants that grow easily on Indian soil, like tomatoes, Eggplant, Chilli, Ladies Finger, and different varieties of Gourd. The Organic Garden also serves as a recreational activity for students to grow their own fruits and vegetables.