We selected a site within walking distance to the three settlements due to the presence of a bridge along the river. None of these settlements have any formal education facilities.
Taking cue from Gond households and their lifestyle, the school structure is balanced with enclosed and shared spaces, constructed using only locally sourced materials. The structure was to sit on the edge of two villages with avenues of approach being pulled through the structure to create a street within, which finally opened to the river.
Maharasthra has one of the largest tribal populations in India, with over 10.5 million registered under scheduled tribe. Some of these regions have communities with literacy rates as low as 4%.
Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra with a population of 10.7 million is known to have 35 % of scheduled tribal communities including the Gond madias, Kolams and Pardhans. The Gonds are known to reside in hilly regions and dense forests
Etapalli and Bhamragarh constitute 50% of the Gond tribe. The region we selected is a valley flanked by two hill ranges running parallely created a remote valley with close to zero schools.
Three villages within a 3 km radius are divided by a river which proves to be an important resource and livelihood to people of the region.
GOND LIFESTYLE - THEN
GOND LIFESTYLE - NOW
Our design was aimed at being a continuum of learning and culture by nurturing children with native values and mastery over native arts and crafts that such a rich heritage had sustained.
With shared spaces for the community integrated with the school, children would be exposed to the local panchayat (civic body), the bazaar (local marketplace), folklore (through performance art) and cultivation (learning extraction of paints from nature). The school would play two primary functions – as a workshop and as a classroom for unconventional and conventional learning respectively.
ACTIVITY CLOCK SHOWING THE DISTRIBUTION OF TIME AND ACTIVITY THROUGH THE DAY BETWEEN THE SCHOOL AND THE COMMUNITY.
500 sq. metres
Gadchiroli District, Maharashtra
A competition entry by STaND, the brief was to design a multi-functional educational space to accommodate a capacity of 200 students between the ages of 5-11 years. It also had to function as an interactive space for the local community after school hours. The site had to be in a region where education was inaccessible, encourage learning for children and strengthen communal spirit.
Our vision was to create a school with no boundaries between education and culture, a space that unites dying skill sets with integrated learning. We explored tribal India for inspiration – a population with no access to education. The Gond tribe, concentrated in the state of Maharashtra dwell in hilly regions, which are almost inaccessible with literacy rates of just 4% but their arts and crafts were truly unique and sought after. We had found the site for our school.