“School is an enjoyable and enriching part of life where students can safely explore their True North” – reads the vision of The Northstar School, a progressive institution established to transform the educational ecosystem. The client’s initial brief was that, a very important part of every child’s experience in Northstar be shaped by architecture. The project sits on the south eastern corner of a 17.8-acre barren site located adjoining the RK University campus on Rajkot- Bhavnagar highway.
▼项目外观，external view of the project ©Ishita Sitwala
The semi-arid climate of north-west India, dusty yet windy site conditions, 20- 30 days of monsoons in Rajkot and supply of STP water from RK University were influential contextual pointers. Overall master planning was conceived integrating three phases of development of which only Phase -1 is built. Open- ended corridors, building orientation and future development were factored into the overall planning. Key functions are accommodated in ground and first floors to keep the built space child friendly.
▼设计生成和气候分析，design development and climate analysis ©Shanmugam Associates
▼项目外观，主要功能集中在地面层和二层，external view of the project with main functions accommodated in ground and first floor ©Ishita Sitwala
With due credits to the structural engineer, the massing on the second floor sits lightly on the floor below and houses a 250-persons capacity multipurpose hall. The structure visually creates a presence as one walks along the heavily canopied main entry walkway.
▼悬挑的二层体块遮盖入口处的步道，cantilevered volume of the first floor creating cover for the entrance walkway ©Ishita Sitwala
▼悬挑的体块起到遮阳作用，cantilevered volume blocking the sun light ©Ishita Sitwala
A secondary skin – Jalli in ground floor and an ambitious creeper screen in first floor, has been planned in all floors to allow natural light, shield dust and provide security. When exploring material for the façade, the criteria was for it to be locally available, have an earthy tone, reflect an institutional character and be economical. Bella, a natural hard lime stone in terracotta color, has been used to blend the built form with existing surroundings.
▼地面层设有镂空砖表面，二层立面外爬满植物，hollow brick skin on the ground floor and creeper screen in first floor ©Ishita Sitwala
▼两种表皮细部，details of the two skins ©Ishita Sitwala
The primary intent was to find ways to learn with nature. The fundamental unit of schools are classrooms. So, the design process started in programming a single classroom module with cross ventilation, its own private garden and an open to sky jallied courtyard. This module was iterated to arrive from a part to a whole. Between two classrooms is a larger garden that is easily monitored, has a performance space and provisions for conducting classes.
▼教室模块分析图，analysis of the classroom modules ©Shanmugam Associates
▼教室模块，classroom module ©Ishita Sitwala
▼教室之间的庭院，courtyard between the classroom modules ©Ishita Sitwala
Drawing inspiration from stepped wells of Gujarat, a central courtyard ties all the spaces within each module and is replicated in all phases. This central stepped and vegetated courtyard serves for larger gatherings as a multi-purpose space and for circulation. Integrated within the courtyard amidst the green pockets, creepers and vines is a stage, that is used by children or staff to perform.
▼阶梯式中央庭院，stepped central courtyard ©Ishita Sitwala
▼庭院中种有各种各样的植物，various plants in the courtyard ©Ishita Sitwala
Architecture at The Northstar School has been planned such that as the building ages, landscape adds in more life into the space therefore taking ownership. Presently, an Indian owl resides in an unused truncated duct, the gulmohar trees lay a red carpet for the main pedestrian entry and Northstar’s horticulture program engages the learners on importance of flora & fauna. The design foundations at Northstar lie on ideologies of exploring contemporary design with local material, using regional references to define built form and finding simplistic solutions for complex design problems.
▼通透的室内空间，transparent interior space ©Ishita Sitwala
▼走廊，corridor ©Ishita Sitwala
▼植物为建筑带来更多生机，vegetation bringing more life to the architecture ©Ishita Sitwala
▼总平面图，site plan ©Shanmugam Associates
▼一层平面图，ground floor plan ©Shanmugam Associates
▼二层平面图，first floor plan ©Shanmugam Associates
▼立面图，elevation ©Shanmugam Associates
Project Name: The Northstar School
Architecture Firm: Shanmugam Associates
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Firm Location: Trichy/ Chennai, India
Completion Year: 2017
Gross Built Area: 33,000 sqft
Project location: Rajkot, Gujarat
Lead Architects: Raja Krishnan, Santhosh Shanmugam, Shanmugam A
Lead Architects e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits: Ishita Sitwala
Photographer’s website: www.thefishyproject.com
Photographer’s e-mail: email@example.com
Design Team: Raja Krishnan, Santhosh Shanmugam, Balasubramanian, Manish Bokdia, Vimala
Clients: Mohit Patel
Engineering: Jayant Laklani, Laklani Associates,
Landscape: Sandip Patil, Tapan Modi, Earthscapes Consultancy Private Ltd
Collaborators: Gudgudee- Playground Design