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Friday, March 16, 2018

A child’s very own kingdom

By Annie Aggarwal
Photography: Tejas Shah; courtesy Spirit
Read Time: 2 mins
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Spirit architects and designers blueprint a modern-day pre-primary school that is an extension of homely comfort and ambience, keeping the child’s psyche at the core…

Given the metropolitan space crunch and verticality of institutional buildings like hospitals and schools, Witty World is yet another pre-primary school that finds itself vertically spread across 20,000 sq. ft.- a comfortable area for a school. Located in a Mumbai suburb, and closely surrounded by residential buildings, the school is conceptualised as a natural extension of the residential community, resembling the modern-day home, the apartment, characterized by marble-treated, LED-lit spaces. 

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Large and spacious lobbies and corridors facilitate parent interaction as well as allow room for children to move around, play and transit along the different areas, viz., main reception-lobby, multipurpose hall and soft gym for play and study, common areas for interaction supported by staff areas and conventional classrooms catering to learning activities. Consciously carved out open spaces on ground and terrace incorporate play gardens, open field and toddler pool.

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The principal architects, Shailesh Veera and Meetali Kamath Nerurkar have set out to create a kingdom that the children can call their own. Variations in primary shapes, forms and colours, materialising as pastel coloured circles, triangles and lines along the ceiling as well as graphics along the walls create a playful, yet subtle visual identity. Ergonomically designed interactive elements, like the framed soft boards to pin up kids’ work, white boards and translucent graphics along with elements from games and toys, all enhance a child’s experience through the sense of touch and sight. 

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Going beyond just colours, are a range of amenities and spaces requisite for an elegant and playful school. The spaces, each finished in beige coloured Italian marble tiles (for flooring, wall cladding and staircase) with concealed LED and strip lighting, exhibit a unique character, from the formal and opulent reception and public lobbies to the simple and playful spaces for children.  Also, the open play gardens and green-walled terrace provide the necessary spill out for children into the open. 

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Details further enhance the spatiality; laser-cut leaves on ACP panels covering the windows filter the light entering the rooms, while providing privacy and concealing outdoor AC units; wooden doors and shelving systems with slots for graphics cater to functional spaces with adequate storage. 

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With subtlety playing a large role in designing for children, the architects exercise great care in providing a soothing ambience that absorbs the shifting moods of various children, making the space naturally adaptable.  

Fact File:
Client: Dr. Vinay Jain, Witty International school
Design Firm: SPIRIT
Principal Designers/Architects: Shailesh Veera & Meetali Kamath Nerurkar
Design Team: Shailesh, Meetali, Jayram, Akshada 
Area: 20,000 sq. ft.
Location: Borivli West, Mumbai


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