The completed three story structure will provide several functions, with the ground floor offering a large multi functional space that can bring revenue to the project through functions and conferences, as well as hosting the regular women’s empowerment group and school activities. The floor above will be dedicated to classrooms for about 200 children as well as multi-purpose space and kitchen facilities, while the top floor will provide accommodation and living areas for up to 20 women plus volunteers and visitors. You can read a summary of the full design brief HERE. The completed construction is not the end of the process in our minds, and we hope to return to Delhi to mural the interior of the building with the children and women, giving them a truly personalised, warm and tactile space.
There are two main functions of the building: there’s a women’s empowerment project, so we have provided accommodation for women in the area who are experiencing difficult times; and then there’s spaces for the kids. Our main drive was to connect these two areas, focusing on the idea of establishing a community, to create a family feeling in a fun space.
The main internal spaces are defined by a very simple structural grid, but within that grid we found the freedom to create a dynamic relationship between the different floors and functions through an a atrium void, and a relationship with the outside through large openings in the facade. The building is an introverted community, and a safe haven for the children and women to come to, but it is also strongly connected to the wider community by it’s views and strong presence in the area.
Environmental conditions ultimately defined the final design, with a relatively deep plan and sandwiched plot of land it was difficult to make the most of the space available while still maintaining good ventilation. The generous void which connects the two floors also connects two facades on different levels, pulling fresh air through the building to replace the hot humid atmosphere. Drawing inspiration from the small windows dotted across the fronts of old nearby lo-fi industrial buildings, we also created a playful facade with an undulating pattern of standardised window openings. This creates a joyful interior to the classroom spaces, and also facilitates ventilations during the humid summer.
Upgrading of the existing building foundations, insertion of new structural columns and beams on ground floor, and a new concrete slab to replace the old sheet roof of the ground floor.
This work was the start of the building upgrades, and took the important steps of making the building a secure and safe environment. The new slab roof keeps out the rain and summer sun, but it also means the small classrooms are darker and poorly ventilated. The new slab roof has been a popular playground for the kids though!
Phase one came to a total cost of a little over £22,200 which was raised with the generosity of volunteers and supporters of Anusaran.
Construction of 4 large classrooms on the first floor, roofed in semi-temporary sheeting, renovation of ground floor to create a large hall space, new plumbing and electrics, and structural preparation work for the next phase.
With 4 large new classrooms the usable space at the school is almost doubled, relieving the pressure on bulging classes and giving the women space and quality facilities for their vocational groups.
The new areas on the ground floor allows the school to be used for larger meetings and small events or conferences, which can bring revenue and engage the local community. A new office also centralises the administration of Anusaran, and gives an appropriate place to welcome guests and resolve issues.