ghada school


Village Primary School, Ghada, Dist Kutch, Gujarat India

The Context

Ghada village near Bhuj city in Kutch was severely affected by the earthquake on Jan 26th 2000. Comprising about 90 families, largely dependent on employment as farm labourers in nearby fields in an arid region, economic survival is one of their most difficult challenges. UNICEF runs a small program through a portable structure adjacent to the site where the new school building was to be constructed. This project was sponsored by a non-profit organization based in Mumbai.

The Site:

The new building was located exactly on the ruins of the old. The building, which collapsed, was an important landmark in this village and its resurrection was planned so as to rekindle the memory of the old. A grove of 200 trees was proposed as a foreground to the school with a view to educate the children about aforestation and the importance of trees in our ecosystem. Every inhabitant of the village was to plant one sapling, and nurture it. All existing trees were to be preserved and incorporated within the ambit of the new building.

The built response:

The school was planned along a north south axis, keeping the east façade parallel to the adjacent public street. The plan of the school is quite simple with an entry space leading to a passage, two class rooms, the headmaster’s office, play area, a congregational court and toilets. The main building block, which houses the classrooms, are linear and act as a very simple interface between the street edge and the court beyond. Its identity as a public institution in the village is achieved through its simple robust form and siting, while the internal scales respond to the needs of the children who use the school. The west-facing verandah is a device to keep the harsh afternoon sun out and small high openings on the east façade provide adequate light in the classrooms. The choice of rough sand stucco textured and painted terracotta walls, white-banded windows is in response to the use of such elements locally in the dwelling form.

Transportation of material to the site was a huge cost, which the project could not afford. It was decided to recycle rubble from the debris of the old in the foundations, which was also expressed to define the lofty plinth. The super structure was built out of hollow and solid concrete blocks, which were manufactured on site using a hand press, and cured in a water pond. The roof slab was cast in RCC with broken china mosaic finish from the top to cut heat gain in intense summer months.

Locally available skilled and unskilled labour along with appropriate use of materials and finishes helped us to maintain a very low cost on this project. The area of construction was about 3500 sq.ft, which included, covered as well as semi open spaces at a cost of Rs.800,000 , which is equal to approximately, 17,000 U.S.D.

Client : Shrujan Trust
Location : Ghada village, Kutch, Gujarat
Architects : Uday Andhare & Mausami Andhare, indigo architects, Ahmedabad
Design Team : Uday Andhare & Mausami Andhare, Arpan Shah
Consultants : Ami Engineers, Ahmedabad
Site Area : 10,000sq.ft
Building Area : 3500 sq.ft.
Completion Year : 2001
Civil Engineers : Sanjay Chikermane, Baroda
Photo Credits : Uday Andhare