This is the new building of Rajkumari Ratnavati Girl’s School in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan meant for girls below the poverty line residing in the Thar Desert region whose opening has been delayed (thrice) due to pandemic. The school building is designed by Diana Kellogg Architects of USA, funded by CITTA and the school uniform of the students is designed by famous designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Though the school has not yet opened, its design has caught the eye of architects around the world. Do you know why the school building is shaped like this?
The school is the first of the three structures that will become the Gyaan Center, which will also house a women’s cooperative, an exhibition and performance hall, and a textile museum. The school building is situated just a six-minute drive away from Jaisalmer’s famous Sam Sand Dunes in Kanoi village and has been constructed with the idea of blending tourism, culture, craftsmanship and other unique aspects of Jaisalmer to open up a concept of economic avenue.
Built by local master craftsmen and constructed with hand-cut Jaisalmer sandstone, the school has space for 400 students in grades from reception to year 10. Located outside the city of Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert, the school is powered by a canopy of solar panels that double as the roof for a play area that is tucked between walls and runs alongside an interior staircase. The oval forms were employed to reflect the curvilinear shapes of the local forts and also universal symbols of female strength. With no air conditioners installed inside the building, the school’s Jali wall at the roofs and solar installations ensure that sustainable principles are followed at length.
The school has been constructed on land donated by Manvendra Singh Shekhawat, owner of the Suryagarh Palace hotel and a director for CITTA Foundation India. CITTA is a New York State registered non-profit organization that focuses on methods that help build and support development in some of the most economically challenged, geographically remote or marginalized communities in the world.
Diana Kellogg Architects is an international, award winning firm established in 1992 and has worked primarily in high end residential design and non-profit community projects.