Vijay Gupta Architects (VGA), a New Delhi-based multidisciplinary architecture and design practice, was recently honoured by the Indian Buildings Congress (IBC) for their design for Euro School, Bannerghatta in Bengaluru for the Euro School Foundation.
The project was commended for its ingenious design approach in the institutional category. The ceremony this year took place in the National Agricultural Science Complex, a building designed by the late Mr Vijay Gupta, founder of the practice. The campus proposes an alternative model for educational spaces with a focus on inculcating sustainable values in students.
The aim of the IBC Awards is to bring much-needed attention to contributions to design that create a public impact, made by professionals in the built environment. The 20,180 sqm site for the school is framed by the lush Bannerghatta National Park, and the design accordingly uses the vegetation and natural features to its advantage.
The plan retains and incorporates all of the natural vegetation and topography of the site, with the idea being to amplify architecture’s connection with nature, fostering learning spaces that emphasise its role in students’ lives. The spatial layout works in tandem with the school’s teaching methodology and curriculum, ensuring that nature becomes a fundamental part of the teaching process.
The principal designers on the project, Saurabh Gupta and Akanksha Gupta (Partners at VGA), attempted to employ strategies that maximise on outdoor learning opportunities where teaching takes place with and through nature. The objective according to them was to foster respect for and curiosity towards the natural world through the design of the built environment. Outdoor spaces, play areas and classrooms within the school’s landscaping encourage students to observe, learn and interact with their environment, instead of being divorced from it.
The zero-discharge campus employs pragmatic planning to minimally harm the site’s terrain such as using the natural swale to replenish the groundwater table. Apart from working with the natural terrain and vegetation onsite to disturb the local ecology minimally, the materials used in the building are locally sourced, such as the granite used in the flooring. Many materials have also been recycled during construction such as the GRC fins and the materials in the concrete mixture.
Location: Bengaluru, Karnataka
Site: 20,180 sqm
Built-up area: 114373.43 sqm
Client: Euro School Foundation
Photographs by: Studio Noughts & Crosses