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A primary Hindu school that teaches children respect for their surroundings and each other

The Krishna-Avanti Primary School designed by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture in 2009 is a Hindu school in the UK that bears more of a resemblance to a large kindergarten than a school - with interconnecting spaces catering for a wide use of activities, experiments and life-skills.

The school aims to help children realise their spiritual, moral and academic potential in a welcoming, secure and supportive environment centred on loving service to Lord Krishna (school's website).

The architects collaborated with the school community in the design process, to better understand the client's religious and cultural ambitions and to establish an appropriate architecture.

An architecture that includes a traditional Vedica style Hindu temple, a music and drama space, a spiritual japa garden, zones were children could be barefoot and environmentally friendly construction materials.

I love this idea of a miniature road for children to ride their small cars and bikes around their school - learning road rules and giving them a miniature world of their own.

The spiritual focus or feature of the school is the temple - with all teaching spaces facing it.

Whilst the other side of the classrooms features covered outdoor teaching areas and landscaped playgrounds.

The entire school is viewed as a learning environment, where the environment is seen as a curriculum resource - educational and play gardens with fruit trees and herbs, spiritual gardens, exercise gardens, ecology and wildlife habitats, recycling gardens, outdoor dining, and frameworks for future expansions.

All space within the school (music and drama rooms, entrances, dining areas) are interconnected displaying the philosophy of a cross-curricula approach.

Dining is an important aspect of the school day - with the organic vegetarian food blessed by the dieties - children and staff sit together on the floor - the act of eating becoming also a lesson in social etiquette and respect.

Some of the food is grown on the site in the school's allotments.

Each classroom contains a classroom shrine and quiet area, an area for ICT/whiteboard projection and an area for art and science experiments.

The entire building is designed for maximum natural light and optimum thermal comfort using insulation, under floor heating, acoustic linings and natural ventilation, whilst carbon dioxide sensors display air quality. Rainwater is collected from the sedum covered roofs is used to water the garden.

The architecture successfully implements the school's philosophies - utilising natural resources and encouraging children to be sensitive to their surroundings and each other.

Via ArchDaily and Imagine.


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