Written and Contributed by
Flying Elephant Studio
The architectural intent was to synthesize a complex design brief into a pleasant, comfortable living environment and form a coherent neighbourhood landmark that exudes positivity and optimism within the limited footprint available in a tight urban situation.
What is the project about?
Divya Shanthi Christian Association & Trust added this multi-program building facility as an extension to its school and children’s home campus, located in a low-income neighbourhood of Bangalore city. The architectural intent was to synthesize a complex design brief into a pleasant, comfortable living environment and form a coherent neighbourhood landmark that exudes positivity and optimism, emerging as a beacon of hope.
The building houses multiple programs that complement the needs of both the existing school campus and a larger neighbourhood community. It includes children’s dormitories and a senior girl’s transition home, a teacher training centre, a primary healthcare clinic, a community library, science labs, a dining hall and additional facilities for the school.
Given the limited footprint available in a tight urban situation, the program is stacked at multiple levels. The plan allows for both necessary controls, including stringent security-privacy for the girl’s residences, and connectivity: with the neighbourhood backstreet and within the existing school building and campus.
Materials & Technologies
The new building design re-interprets the architecture of a traditional ‘verandah’, a transitional area that functions variously as a climatic buffer, movement corridor, and social space – adapting the concept to a contemporary multi-level urban structure. A flat concrete structural slab soffit and ‘free plan’ permit maximum flexibility in the internal subdivision of space to accommodate changing needs – both of specific programs currently on different floors, as well as catering to future iterations.
It incorporates a double skin façade enclosure: the outer skin comprises a layer of bent steel louvres, while the inner combines an operable glazing system with opaque walls. The louvres shade the glazing, shelter movement corridors and informal social spaces; while providing security and privacy. The inner glazing effectively protects assigned program spaces from inclement weather and provides acoustic separation when needed; while allowing deep penetration of diffused daylight and cross-ventilation.
The indoor massing, simulates a micro-urban environment, with ‘interior streets’ between different colour-coded program ‘blocks’ that are articulated to suggest street edge furniture and invite human occupation. The interior ambience is characterized by colour, cross transparency, and reflectiveness set against the building structure’s raw concrete surfaces.
Viewed from outside the building presents an enigmatic image with interior colour splashes echoing bold synthetic colours of neighbourhood houses – combining shadows, reflections, and transparency filtered through a veil of steel louvres.
Project Funded by
Divya Shanthi Christian Association and Trust
Divya Shanthi Christian Association and Trust – Client
Manjunath & Co – Structural consultant
HMN Consultants – MEP consultant
Gleeds – Project Management
Gina Engineering – Contractors
What is the impact?
The building engages with the local community at multiple levels. The children’s home offers a caring and secure environment for those without family support. They receive an education at Divya Shanthi school which also caters to kids from the locality. There is extensive accommodation for girls, including a transition home that prepares young women to become independent and eventually move out into the world. A well-equipped dining facility offers mid-day meals to all students while also serving the children’s home.
Additional facilities that benefit the community include a special needs school program and a teacher training facility. The Library primarily serves the school but is also intended for use by people from the locality. A street-level primary healthcare centre provides quality medical services, including doctor consultancy, a daycare bed facility, a testing lab and a pharmacy – to the poor, free of cost.
Images by Manoj Sudhakaran | © all rights reserved
Drawings by Flying Elephant Studio | © all rights reserved
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About Flying Elephant Studio:
We try and choreograph evocative, layered experiences through architecture while responding to pragmatic needs of program, site, and locale. Our approach employs bottom-up and top-down design strategies, moving in parallel from detail to whole, and vice-versa. Materiality and ‘making’ occupy a significant space in our architectural sensibility. A thematic interest underlying our projects is to promote an intimate engagement with nature while facilitating a sense of urbanity and community. Flying Elephant Studio brings to the table fresh, inventive, and sensitive ways of observing and shaping our environment, subconsciously dissolving boundaries of architecture, urbanism, landscape, and infrastructure design.
Our strength lies in innovative conceptual thinking backed by demonstrated experience, skills, and technical expertise to competently translate ideas into reality. The diverse nature in building type, scale, and geographic location of our commissions secured over the past 25 years gives us a distinct professional versatility.