Most of the schools in our country are designed without considering the comfort of the end users i.e. Teachers and Students. When the design process starts, neither the teachers nor the principal is identified for the school. We say each child is unique and so is each school. The comfort of the students, who are the users of the building, is not really thought about. With New Education Policy (NEP) – 2020 likely to be implemented from 2023, there will be changes in the way schools are designed. After the NEP and COVID-19 Blended learning, Experiential Learning etc. are widely accepted pedagogy in majority of the schools. This used to be there only in elite schools before. There is a need for an integrated approach towards school design where the comfort of all the stakeholders of the school is taken care of. Architects shall be selected on the basis of geographical location, logistical comfort, and their understanding of the contemporary school education system. The School’s design, the practical utility of the space, easy student monitoring and logical space allocation are some of the biggest factors that are not carefully thought of while designing educational spaces in India. Very few schools are designed keeping curriculum delivery, pedagogy and teaching-learning process in mind. Each school is unique and shall be designed within the local socio-cultural context.
While finalizing the school interior design factors like convenience, colour pattern and its impact on learning shall be considered. Aesthetics, Ergonomics and durability are to be considered while choosing the furniture. School furniture is one of the most rashly used furniture.
The building layout and architectural design of the school needs to be planned carefully and meticulously. The school building could be planned in any shape and the conventional ‘L’ shape ‘U’ shape or square shapes with a quadrangle in the middle are old school thoughts. Doubly loaded corridor where two classes face each other have more disadvantages in terms of noise, distraction and echo than advantages. The building shall be designed to ensure maximum cross ventilation, minimizing solar heat gain and greenhouse effect while taking maximum advantage of the natural light shall enter the classrooms from proper direction else the students face trouble in seeing the writing board properly. Keeping the local weather condition in consideration while designing the school is very important.
With the availability of play areas in the houses squeezing day by day, the requirement of playfields and open spaces in the school for is important. Gone are the days when games and sports activities used to be minimal and schools only used to focus on academics. In 21st century, performing arts, literary activities and social and emotional skills are given equal importance. These ancillary spaces shall also be designed and placed accordingly.
While designing a school National Building Code (NBC) for Schools shall be followed to the finest details. If a school is not designed as per the NBC norms, then the design is not approved by the local municipal office, also, certificates like ‘Fire Safety’ ‘Building Safety’ is also difficult to obtain. Height restrictions in the building shall be followed too.
If you are looking to divide your school into two or more segments (Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary), ensure that you have the required space and are aware of all the concerning laws. For example, as per the CBSE & ICSE affiliation by-laws, all the three stages comprising primary / Middle, Secondary and Senior Secondary wings of the School will have to be operated from a single location. The entire school may function in a single building or different blocks at the same location. A few examination boards do not allow another board to operate from the same premises. So if you are planning to have two boards in the same location, then you need to have proper infrastructure planning.
Furthermore, make sure that before the commencement of construction of any school building complex, the requisite building plans are approved by the local Municipal Corporation / Municipal Committee / Town Area Committee / Village Panchayat. Accordingly, you will have to submit the municipal drawings of the school building complex to the concerned authority for obtaining approval for the construction of the new school building. The approval must be taken on Diverted Land with Land Use classified as Education.
While designing a school building keep in mind the size of the school building. The size would depend upon the vertical growth and the number of sections in each school. A normal (10+2) school with 4 sections from class I to X and 3 sections in class XI & XII will require 46 classrooms six laboratories and a number of other rooms for administrative support & co-curricular activities. Also, the entire building shall ideally be not constructed in the beginning. This blocks the capital and one does not really require all the rooms in the first year. The school’s master plan shall be designed completely but the school shall be built in two or three phases. This keeps the school fiscally fit.
When choosing an ideal location for your school, see that the school should neither be located on the roads with heavy traffic density & noise pollution nor in the narrow lanes/roads subject to traffic jams and inaccessible to school buses, away from the cluster of high rise building or polluting industrial units. These are just some of the following factors that must be considered before finalizing the location:
– Distance from the heart of city / Target Group and travel time by School Bus
– Cost of land in the context of overall project cost and feasibility
– Shape, dimensions, direction, and front-area of the land
– Availability of underground water and other sources of water
– Geo-topographical and geotechnical survey reports
– Other education projects in the vicinity
– Residential area development project and existing houses in the vicinity
– Climatic conditions and natural factors
– Approach road and road connectivity to City
– Legal disputes and problems from nearby village panchayats or other social groups
– Local Government and Authorities regulations, bye-laws, and guidelines
– Availability of land for future expansion
LIFE EDUCARE has a separate design wing called LIFE DESIGNS which has in-house expertise of designing school buildings. Alternatively, we also work with renowned architects as an academic knowledge bank and design the school.