Nandanam Kindergarten is located in Cultural Zone, close to Matrimandir- the spiritual center of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India. It was conceived when the children in Auroville outgrew the student intake capacity of the existing Kindergarten. The project was built in four phases starting from 2006 and was completed in 2014. Each phase took 9 months to complete and commenced as funds were available.
Global Architecture & Design Awards 2018
First Award | Category: Institutional (Built)
Architects: PATH Architects & Planners
The Phase-1 was done by a different architect, and the rest of the Kindergarten is designed by our Studio with a renewed brief keeping in mind the design language of the existing building and ensuring cohesive connectivity.
Inspiration: Nandanam endeavors to create through the medium of architecture, spaces that are responsive to the vast spirit of the child and facilitate natural curiosity, exploration and integral learning. The design is seen as the chance to break free from existing norms in education by creating an environment that nurtures and enhances inner wisdom and holistic development of each child.
Design: The center of the entire plan and the main focal element – the open courtyard is the constant reference and shaded by existing Neem tree, it is indeed the calm anchor that holds the entire composition together. This is the heart of the school and is symbolic to the open minded approach as the core principal of education in Auroville. All the classrooms and activity rooms are arranged around this through common semi covered space which forms a continuous band of activities like an internal street. The classrooms have each been provided with a private play area and sand-pit to encourage physical education.
Unique features: The kindergarten is thought of as a garden for the young that facilitates visual drama with the use of bright colors, openings on the walls, skylights and plenty of landscape flowing through the building.
Design Challenges: The first challenge faced while designing this kindergarten was that the first phase out of 4 was already built by another architect. The existing building corresponded to a regular grid while the rest of the kindergarten called for a different approach. The second challenge faced was that the building had to be designed with flexibility in order to accommodate Auroville’s evolving and holistic system of education. The third challenge was to work on different designs with the teachers who were also the clients, who had multiple ideas and perspectives that often internally contradicted.
Site Area: 6150sqm
Ground Coverage: 925sqm
Built Up Area: 737sqm
Number of Floors: 1
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