Chacha Nehru School was developed with Ivar Tutturen and Alexander Furunes, in partnership with the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development, Ramboll UK, and the British Council. The aim for the project was to explore low-cost, socially sustainable architecture in the context of Hariharpur, a small village in rural Uttar Pradesh. Although under-developed, Hariharpur has a unique tradition of classical music, and ITRHD is striving to protect and promote this valuable cultural heritage through the provision of basic infrastructure – including health, education and sanitation. The team worked directly with the community to design and construct a small brick school building that could act as a prototype for the rest of the master plan. The brick barrel-vaulted classroom that we completed in 2013 was the first phase of a larger master plan that will include a health center, theatre and exhibition space.
Together with the teachers of the school, parents, local artisans and craftspeople, the design and construction of the school was an opportunity to learn from vernacular building methods, reinterpreting and evolving them to create a building which addresses today’s needs and aspirations.