Vacation

The girls’ school built in the desert is handmade, brick by brick, and a beacon lighted up only for women

As we all know, women’s problems in India are as serious as their epidemics. With the awakening of women’s consciousness in India, all sectors of society have begun to act and speak out for women.

Diana Kellogg Architects collaborated with the non-profit foundation CITTA to build a girls’ school named “Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School” in the mysterious Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India.

The school has a huge elliptical sandstone exterior wall, seamlessly connecting with the surrounding unique and vast desert landscape. It is expected to open in July 2021 and can accept more than 400 school-age female students ranging from kindergarten to tenth grade.

They will learn cultural knowledge and traditional handicraft skills here.The newly built girls’ school has a soft and smooth elliptic curve, which symbolizes the gentle and solid embrace of women. The buildings were all built by local craftsmen—the girls’ fathers—using hand-cut sandstone.

The uppermost protective wall of the elliptical building is made of bricks in a hollowed-out style, forming a ventilated wall with excellent privacy.Go through the wooden door and enter the entrance porch, where there is a security room, which is the area where the outside and the inside are connected.

Entering the school, oncoming is an oval-shaped playground-the central courtyard, which creates a safe and open space for children.Opposite the entrance is a hollow wall made of bricks, which is integrated with the inner windbreak wall. Two circular grooves are vacated near the bottom to serve as seats for the children.
The rooms arranged symmetrically around are the classrooms. The playground is paved with sandstone to form.winding corridors, which lead to classrooms, computer centers and open terraces.

The inner wall is decorated with stone-carved flower ornaments, and each flower is marked with the serial number of the classroom.Kellogg combines real Indian cultural elements in the design to make the school a building that truly represents the local residents.In the niche on the “commendation wall” at the entrance, each flower is marked with the name of the project donor.The furniture in the classroom is made of local mahogany, and it is also matched with chairs woven with Indian traditional Charpai.

The school uniforms of the students are all designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, a famous Indian fashion designer. A local traditional cloth called “Ajrak” is used, printed and dyed with natural dyes and traditional techniques.
A wide ramp leads to an open promenade on the top floor.
The hollow retaining walls distributed inside and outside the campus are also design inspirations drawn from the traditional Jallis screens.

The sun shines through the hollow bricks and leaves a strange light and shadow.
The roof and ground are covered with blue tiles, looking down like a winding river from above.
You can also reach the top of the building through the stairs.
The parapet wall not only reinterprets the traditional screen, but can also accommodate a long row of solar panels to power the classroom’s fans and lighting.

At night, Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School is like a lighthouse in the desert, and the building’s interior and exterior are harmoniously integrated with the surrounding environment.
The school has a bus to bring girls from nearby villages to the school and will also provide lunch for students. The size of all spaces are adapted to community life, it is like a strong autonomous village.
It is said that the girls who enroll in school are from families below the local poverty line, and it was established to improve the living standards of women in the local community.
This school actually constitutes the first part of CITTA’s three-phase project. The project called “GYAAN CENTER” contains a girls’ school, a women’s cooperative, and a performance and art exhibition space.
It was also designed by Diana Kellogg. Her eponymous firm was established in 1992, mainly engaged in high-end residential design and non-profit community projects, and has been committed to the research and practice of sustainable design.

The three buildings all use ellipsoids, organically combined into a community center melted in the desert.
As a project for women, GYAAN Center is full of symbolic elements that can demonstrate women’s power and unlimited potential. The designer used the design to provide girls and women in the local community with a space suitable for gathering and growing together, which is worthy of praise.

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