HARVEE SCHOOL, COIMBATORE
“Designing a school is always exciting and challenging at the same time, since it deals with the energy of children of different age groups, from nursery kids to adolescent teens”.
Each age group has specific psychological and physical needs which have implications on architecture and “conceiving of spaces”. While designing schools, architecture offers immense potential and freedom, which also needs to be accompanied by understanding and observations on ‘how children use and experience space’ through the years which we have tried to integrate in this school. There are also different kinds of needs and curiosities that have to be met - to allow the young child to try and catch a ray of sunlight in their hands, for older children to have space for studying alone or in group, spaces for individual teaching.
“Architecture and any art can transform a person even save someone. It can for children- for anyone. It still does for me.” - Frank Gehry
The school has an access through an ‘arched entry’ preceeded by a flight of stairs, with perforated wall spanning across the entire east facing wall to allow in the natural light. An amphitheatre is provided outside the, by the entry in a curvilinear form along the span of perforated wall.
The school has an “organic character” due to the induced curves in the elevation. The windows are provided as a string of openings, which resonate along with the curved walls, designed to blend along with the elevation while allowing “ample amount of light” inside the building. The classrooms are arranged along the periphery with a central courtyard at the node of the plan which acts as a central connecting space by accommodating the staircase and forming a vertical connection. The central court facilitates in providing sunlight to all the corridors.
The upper floors tend to offset and project outwards, each along a different curve, creating “layers in the elevation”. The building is treated with earthy colours by using exposed brick and concrete, with jali patterns in the elevation. The central court has informal seating space, with varied levels of seating for the users, while the students can be monitored by the teachers. The introverted planning helps in providing security and the central courtyard helps in facilitating a visual connect vertically to monitor the entire space.
The staircase along the spine of courtyard creates a sculptural feel due to its structure. Bright colours are induced in the interiors to uplift the mood, and to lighten the feel of the building. Bright tile patterns are induced in the interiors to create a livelier feel. The curved walls tend to create a feel of continuity in the interiors opposed to the usual rigid walls.