Nudes, an architecture firm founded by Nuru Karim introduces The Forest as a place that encourages hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, and experiential learning while improving air quality and student health.
Pune, a city in Maharashtra, has seen some substantial urban growth in recent years. This increase in urban density has led to very scarce recreational spaces around the city. These spaces, also known as green pockets, are what act as the lungs for the city. Mumbai based architectural firm, NUDES have taken this case up to design an urban forest like school in the city. The design is a part of the winning entry of an invited competition for design on ecological change.
Concept of the School
Titled “The Forest”, the school is built on five major concepts of ‘grow,’ ‘learn,’ ‘reuse,’ ‘plant,’ and ‘play,’ and investigates the link between nature and education. The proposal includes two cylindrical “green towers” and attempts to bring some landscape amidst a crowded area. Located at a distance of 3 hours from the city of Mumbai, the design for the school has a rooftop “infinity” loop track connecting the two “green” cylindrical volumes.
Design in Detail
The ‘loop’ on the top has been created as a cycling track that will host a variety of activities, including workshops, student exhibitions, student-led marketplaces, and other events, in addition to its primary role. With the increase in pollution, the school’s architecture acts as a beacon of hope to meet the community’s wider requirements. “The track was a consequence of our consultation with stakeholders who expressed concerns about gaps in the city’s infrastructure, such as secure pedestrian walkways, universal accessibility, and cycle tracks, among other things, the architect Nuru Karim chips in about the project.
The school will also include a double-height theatre on the bottom floor and five stories of classrooms above it, reaching a height of 32 metres at its tallest point. The exteriors of both buildings will be surrounded by stepped balconies with plants, creating a vertical forest. Phytoremediation is a technique in which certain plants absorb harmful substances through their leaves or roots, allowing them to remove contaminants from the air. Photosynthesis is another way they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
A Futuristic Proposal
Nudes’ Forest School intends to tackle Pune’s urban challenges by planting trees at every level and building a “bicycle track for a city in desperate need of pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks.” At the basement level are a tennis court and a pool. There are also service pathways for access to the landscape at the facade, which has restricted access for safety purposes.
This kind of architecture that imbibes the values of climate change and environmental protection at the structural level will be an efficient stage for the students to learn these values from. The programmatic functions and the interiors are also tastefully placed to ensure an open learning environment. Hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, experiential learning, improved air quality and student health, passive cooling, sensitivity to climate change and global warming, and social responsibility are all some features included in the ideation of the project.