Source Name : Charged Voids

Category Name : General

Charged Voids' design for a primary school in Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab, sets a benchmark for educational infrastructure in Tier-3 Indian cities

Updated: 20/09/2023

CHANDIGARH, India, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Charged Voids, an internationally acclaimed Chandigarh-based architecture and design firm, has designed a play-way school in Mandi Gobindgarh, a small industrial town in the heart of Punjab. The RIMT School, presently being constructed on one of the few remaining vacant plots in a densely packed residential neighbourhood, attempts to reinvent the school typology in Tier-3 cities in the country.

"Children tend to spend much of their day at school during their formative years. For architects and designers, it becomes vital to note the significant impact of the buildings they occupy on their well-being and growth. This means that a learning institution should not be perceived by kids as a vast, daunting structure. Instead, it should be brought down in scale so that it is conducive to building a free-thinking mindset and allows self-expression," states Aman Aggarwal, Principal Architect at Charged Voids.

The design for the RIMT School was derived as a response to the dense urban context, breaking down a large built mass into several cuboidal units. These units are in proportion with the low-height residences that surround the site. Additionally, the scale of these blocks is cognizant of an intangible aspect of the design programme — the children's perception of scale — aiming to make the school building more inviting than intimidating.

The pandemic has taught architects the importance of connecting with nature. Aggarwal explains, "We are ever more conscious of creating robust relationships between school classrooms and the outdoors. Thus, the negative spaces between the school blocks are courtyards and spill-over zones that help a holistic learning experience and create a healthy micro-environment in an otherwise difficult urban setting. Each classroom opens directly into these interstitial spaces in all four directions, which remain cool throughout the day owing to self shading among the blocks." This feature also maximises the kids' interaction with nature during school hours and makes recreation an important part of the learning environment and its experience, factoring in the learning that happens beyond classrooms.

The principal material used to construct the school is the locally available grey fly ash brick, made from the industrial waste abundantly produced by the town's many furnaces, making it a cost-effective and environmentally responsible choice. The material also contributes to greater thermal comfort within the rooms.

The RIMT School is designed to solve the multifold issues of providing a safe, open, and healthy learning environment for children in Tier-3 towns in India, which are often defined by high urban densities. With all classrooms opening onto courtyards, the school effectively melds the outdoors with the indoors. The voids between the rotated blocks also serve as places of play, which is an integral part of children's growing years. With this project, Charged Voids draws on nature, scale, and the element of play to elevate the quotidian school experience.

About Charged Voids

Charged Voids is an internationally acclaimed architectural practice led by architect Aman Aggarwal and based out of Chandigarh, India. The work of the award-winning practice is underpinned by a purposeful dialogue between Western modernism and elements of Indian architecture. Some of their most noteworthy projects have been finalists at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2019, including the Student Hostel for Chandigarh Group of CollegesOffice 543, Mohali, and Residence 91, Chandigarh. It is a recipient of numerous distinctions, including the 'Highly Commended' project at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2019, Best Interior Design in Shops Category at the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors 2013, and the IIID Design Excellence Awards for multiple projects in 2012, 2010 and 2009, among many others. Some of the firm's notable ongoing projects include the 4.2-million-square-foot Lucknow Campus of Chandigarh University and Project 347, a mixed-use commercial undertaking that establishes a landmark identity in Haryana's industrial neighbourhood.



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