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Written and Contributed by

Architecture BRIO
Mumbai, Maharashtra


Situated near Mumbai at the foot of the Western Ghats, the project is designed to accommodate a wide variety of activities such as team-building workshops, group discussions, craft classes, raft building and climbing.

What is the project about?

Designed for Magic Bus, an NGO which seeks to educate children through outdoor “experiential” learning, the Laureus Foundation sponsored Learning Pavilion is partly a building, partly a challenge course, an interactive building used as a gathering space and play area for Mumbai’s underprivileged children. It is situated near Mumbai at the foot of the Western Ghats and is designed to accommodate a wide variety of activities such as team-building workshops, group discussions, craft classes, raft building and climbing.

Architecture BRIO located the Learning Pavilion on a confluence of four important landscape elements: a seasonal stream turns around a hillock and culminates in a river while flanging an existing soccer field. These elements are emphasized by strategically placing the various activities of the Learning Pavilion on either side of the banks of the stream.

Access and circulation to the two decks on the upper floor of the pavilion is provided through the hilled topography as well as wooden climbing ladders.

Tucked away below one deck inside the hill are the toilet facilities for the pavilion. The cantilevered timber deck across the stream is connected with a custom made timber and steel ropes bridge which makes the otherwise conventional passage from one activity space to another an exciting event. It also becomes a viewing gallery, from which to instruct and cheer climbers using the Jacob’s ladder. Below the timber deck a watersports store room is enclosed by a series of steel mesh double doors.

The lightweight structure of the pavilion consisting of dark green painted steel columns and a 29 meter-long semi-transparent roof allows it to disappear in the background. The structure uses the least amount of materials while creating the maximum amount of shaded spaces. In the summer months, the pavilion creates a respite from the heat while the natural breeze flowing from the river cools the covered spaces. During the monsoon months, the pavilion becomes a dry space to take cover from heavy rains.

Project Funded by

Client: Magic Bus India Foundation
Sponsors: Laureus Foundation

Stakeholders Involved

Design Team: Robert Verrijt, Shefali Balwani, Sahil Deshpande, Pankaj Chakraborty, Ryan Mcloughlin.

Structural Design: Vijay K. Patil Associates.

Magic Bus India Foundation

Laureus Foundation

What is the impact?

Encouraging children to find their own path up down and across the pavilion in various ways, it challenges them to overcome boundaries. It integrates sport and activity as an integral part of the architecture, bringing to life Magic Bus’s philosophy of social change through sport.

Through play, the children learned discipline, improved self-esteem, hygiene, and understood the importance of respecting team members and opponents in a healthy competitive environment.  Sport sessions provided an opportunity to express themselves, release their pent-up energy and be a part of the larger community.

Images by Ariel Huber | © all rights reserved

Links to read more:

A link to the project.

About Architecture BRIO:

Architecture BRIO is actively engaged in the creation of contextually appropriate, sustainable design solutions within an increasingly changing world. The work of the studio addresses new ways of understanding the often contradictory interrelations between the city, architecture, landscape, and the world of interiors.

There is a growing need for our built environment to re-establish healthy relationships with the natural world. Similarly, there is an urgency to address the never before seen growth in urban and rural areas in India and globally. Within this context, the work searches for a delicate balance between architecture as the act of disappearance and creating characterful, responsive and experiential environments.