We had a very useful meeting with Alok last Friday in which he explained the requirements for the new kindergarden and shared some of his ideas and thoughts. We showed him some of the references that we’ve started to gather – projects like Anna Heringer’s Handmade House and Laurie Baker’s work – which he responded to really well. Here are our notes from the conversation:
Ceiling height – at least 11 feet height
Privacy is important; a kindergarden is like womb – absolutely closed
As much distance from road as possible
Two separate classrooms that can be opened up together
Flexible large spaces that can be easily reconfigured
Shutters that can be opened onto playground- whole building could be used as stage / theater
Timber floor (real wood is very expensive)
Glass is status symbol: think about tricks that make school better than home
Sinks in each space for painting and art activities
Open shelves, pin-up boards
Shared toilets – with shower
For first floor: parents meeting space; kitchenette for chai; staff room; administration – possibility to look out over the playground during break time.
We also had a really fascinating post-dinner talk with Kapil when he described the haveli he grew up in, in Narnual, Rajastan. He also talked us through the process of grinding lime for motar in large brick pit, using an ox to pull a stone ‘crusher’ round and round – basically like a giant pestle and motar. And explained the structure of the local brick factories, which we’re planning on visiting sometime very soon!