Creating a Brighter Future for the Differently Abled
GIA is among the supporters of a new school building for children with special needs.
Creating an integrated structure to satisfy their varied needs was no easy task, said Nishant Mehta, a Mumbai-based and Columbia University-trained architect whose family is from Palanpur and were associated with the diamond industry.
“Sahyog exemplifies our shared vision for a world where help is born out of empathy, not sympathy.” — Sriram Natarajan, GIA India
- Ceiling heights modulated with double-height spaces and triple-height corridors with bridges, to both achieve visual connectivity through the school and control the echo;
- A circulation block that spans the length of the façade to protect the main structure from heat;
- The use of brick jaalis (meshes), extensively found in the traditional buildings in Palanpur, at a height to allow hot air to be expelled from the corridor and cooler air to enter the lower level;
- Skylights to create a choreography of light, allowing visually impaired students with photosensitive skin to orient themselves;
- Openings oriented towards the north for the learning spaces, allowing soft, natural north light to permeate and helping to keep the space cool;
- Use of the floors as tools for navigation, such as rough and polished Kota stone floors along with tactile flooring used in corridors and classrooms respectively, so the change of texture helps visually impaired students differentiate the spaces;
- Use of local, low-maintenance plants on campus. Fragrant flowering plants near the entrance activate the olfactory senses and enables identification of entrances by visually impaired students; all chosen plants had rounded leaves to avoid any injuries;
- A translation of Braille script in Gujarati developed specially for signage in the school; and
- Artwork commissioned from local artists.
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