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The Seamless Levels
Courtyards as architectural elements establish a seamless connection between the interiors and the exteriors. Courtyards help in maintaining the temperature of the interiors and semi open Spaces and cooling the spaces in turn. A courtyard hence establishes a perfect harmony and integrates the indoors and the outdoors. The basic concept of the design was to integrate the indoors and outdoors with the courtyard being an ideal element to implement the concept. Owing to the climatic conditions of Patna there was a need to facilitate maximum wind flow. To achieve the concept of housing maximum wind flow, there emerged the concept of housing the courtyards at multiple levels so as to keep the wind flowing throughout. Then developing various functions along the courtyard came into play. The Courtyard becomes a central semi-open interactive zone for the functions around it so that the functions by themselves remain as individual private entities and the Courtyard is their zone to seamlessly interact with the other functions as well as the outdoors. To make this interaction more active, the functions evolved along a hexagonal periphery, so that there is a larger visual connection maintained as well. This is where the integration is established.
Entering from the approach Road, surrounded with overgrown trees is the road leading to the porch of the building, within which is placed the admin parking. The porch is seamlessly created by the topmost level of the building providing housing for the large beneath. The levels that are created gave way to a newer concept of having the entire ground floor as a stilt zone that would house numerous exhibitions and dialogues throughout the year. The hexagonal amphitheatres formed in the stilt being ideal to implement these. The design, in spite of having these levels, is a complete barrier free design and limits nobody to be a part of it.
The building is designed in such a way that the private, semi private and public spaces remain segregated and non is disturbed by the other and the levels enhancing the segregation. Elaborating the concept, the design is a composition of four hexagons on the ground floor and then levelled hexagons rising half the height at each consequent level starting from the hexagon, having a central courtyard and different blocks along, So the central hexagon becomes their outdoor zone (outdoor learning unit) and internally each function is a private learning unit by itself. Entering through the porch, one enters into the lobby area of the school accompanied by a hexagonal courtyard. Moving along its periphery located are the administrative functions and have to be accessed by students, teachers and parents as well, hence they are placed at the ground floor. The access to these is from the porch. Moving further along the corridor, there is a central courtyard which is the only common element shared by all the four hexagons and their levels and which makes their connection even more prominent. Moving further along this courtyard, to the left and right are two other hexagonal courtyard spaces which would house yearly exhibitions, some dialogues and other recreational activities. Moving along, to the end of the central courtyard, towards the end is the last courtyard which is underground. This underground courtyard would house as a gardening centre for the students and would primarily be used for gardening also providing an entry to some other academic functions as well This is the life that happens on the first level (ground level) .on all the levels, the basic function remains the same a same concept of outdoor learning comes into play. The classrooms and other functions are the individual learning zones for the students and the outdoor courtyard space becomes their space of interaction with the other functions as well. The school houses some other spaces which are quite multifunctional as well. Those include various academic as well as non-academic activities to happen within and other than the school hours. It could house marriage functions, seminars, night schooling programmes, student training, etc. hence not only academic but various other curricular activities can also be housed in the design.
This is how various levels of the school function and their segregation and integration as well. The school is designed taking into consideration the climatic conditions; sun, wind, people and the vegetation of Patna. The motive was to create a barrier free learning centre for the students and seamlessly integrating each and every aspect with each other. Hence the name Seamless levels.
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