Sandeep School Sulya, India
A Tropical School for Disabled Children
Matthew Crabbe / Technische Universität Berlin
Indian society has few safety nets for the care of its disabled, many of whom are children. They are often treated as inferior and are as such are increasingly the victims of abuse. This attitude is especially prevalent in rural areas. The Sandeep School Project addresses the need for provision of a suitable learning environment for children with special needs in Sulya (20,000 inhabitants), a town in the south-western state of Karnataka. The project was developed as a master thesis project by Matthew Crabbe in collaboration with German charity foundation Hande des Menschen, local project parter and founders of the school the Sadashiv Foundation Sulya, Roswag Architekten Berlin and Prof. Ralf Pasel of the Technical University Berlin.
The program provides classrooms and learning facilities together with a boarding house and physiotherapy centre. Thus allowing the students to stay permanently at school when the monsoon rains make the roads around Sulya impassable. The scheme creates robust and vibrant spaces suited to the the tropical climate. The nature of the school requires a certain degree of privacy and a controlled gradient between the public and private areas. Children must be free to express themselves and feel comfortable. Conversely they must also be able to gain experiences that will help them live independent lives. The design reflects these needs by providing different degrees of enclosure/exposure in both interior and exterior areas.
A natural building system is used to promote construction with local materials and techniques. The chosen palette places emphasis on the origin and future of building materials. Earthen walls and a bamboo structure are combined with locally produced roof tiles in a building system with a minimal carbon imprint. These materials create spaces that remain naturally cool and well ventilated in a tropical climate.
The graphic style of the proposal reflects an attempt to better communicate architectural ideas across cultures and backgrounds. The use of diagrams, cartoons and illustrations throughout the project created new opportunities for story telling, going beyond the medias commonly used by Architects. The final presentation was recorded as a screencast and shared with the Indian members of the project team for feedback.