Project Chander Nagar (2012) was a collaboration between WORKSHOP and an Indian charity ‘Nanhi Dunya International Movement for Children and their Friends’. Nanhi Dunya currently runs twelve schools, primarily for children who come from economically deprived backgrounds, including those with special needs. The schools, which collectively serve over a thousand children, are located in impoverished areas in and around Dehradun, and families contribute what they can afford in order for children to attend. Whilst this ensures inclusion for all, it means that the organization is financially stretched, and its infrastructure is under pressure.
Having conducted extensive research into the needs of each of the schools during a research trip, we and Nanhi Dunya’s Board of Trustees agreed that our project would focus on renovating and improving a single school, Chander Nagar, with the aim of developing a design strategy that could be applied to the others in the future. The ambition was not only to renovate Chander Nagar physically, but to revive the spirit of the organisation as a whole, and help ensure its long-term sustainability.
The result of the 4-month project is a light-weight structure known as the Chander Nagar ‘Rangshala’ – a hindi term deriving from the words ‘rang’ (colour) and ‘shala’ (school). The space is used as a multifunctional classroom, specifically for crafts and other hands-on activities, that is open to the wider community as well as the school children. Enclosed with timber slats, but otherwise open to the surrounding playground, the rangshala is a well-ventilated space that is cool, shaded and dry during the hot and rainy season; during the winter months, when the interior air temperature of the existing classrooms is very cold, the rangshala is warm and sunny.
The structure was designed and built collaboratively with the local community, skilled craftsmen, a local contractor, three UK engineers, and a team of students from the NTNU / AA Visiting School ‘Building Community I’. The project was solely sponsored by Lund+Slaatto in association with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, with in-kind support from Ramboll UK.
Please see the project blog and the publication below for more information about the process.
Local construction advisor: Kapil Sanghi
Translator: Kshipra Uniyal
NTNU / AA Visiting School participants: Simen Bie Malde, Thomas Skinnemoen, Erling Søyland, Anders Olivarius Bjørneseth, Katerina Harbækvold, Maria Ringstad, Maria Ertsås Øverli, Hanna Malene Lindberg, Jone Nordland, Veronica Hellebergshaugen, Louise Underhill, Inez Tan, Vishal Jayan, Kaushik Naarayan
With support from: Kapil, Saurav, Vipin, Sonu, Nathi, Adesh, Ravi, Shabnam, Kamarjaha, Arifa, Lovekush, Chitra, Reena, Meena, Deepa, Pradeep, Rishu
Sponsors: Lund + Slaatto Arkiekter, NTNU
In-kind support: Ramboll UK, ABC imaging