Movie interview with Sandeep Khosla on DPS Kindergarten School

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"The courtyard is the soul of DPS Kindergarten School"

Movie: Indian architect Sandeep Khosla explains the importance of outdoor learning at DPS Kindergarten School in Bangalore, India, which won the education category at last month's Inside Festival in Singapore.

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

DPS Kindergarten School by Khosla Associates is a prototype for a series of school buildings to be rolled out across southern India.

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

"The brief was to really create a typology that could be repeated and adapted to further schools in the region," says Khosla. "We used exposed concrete as the starting point and we created a very modular system that can be expanded vertically as well as horizontally. So the inside of the classrooms are basically the stripped-down materials of the architecture."

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

The 25 classrooms feature brightly-coloured walls made of corrugated metal sheets and perforated terracotta screens for ventilation.

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

"Colour is very much a part of the Indian consciousness," Khosla explains. "We've used three colours, which wrap around these corrugated sheets that we used."

He adds: "Corrugated sheets are easy to construct with and they reduce time in the construction."

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

The perforated screens, called jali, keep the classrooms cool in the absence of any air-conditioning.

"We decided to do a climate-sensitive, sustainable school," Khosla explains. "The breezes from south-west to north-east flow right through the classrooms and the hot air rises in the courtyard. So it's a natural ventilation stack effect that we've created."

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

The jali screens also have a decorative purpose, Khosla says.

"We used two modules of different patterns and we've created very nice floral patterns by combining them," he says. "The light creates lovely patterns on the floor at different times of the day."

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

As well as helping to keep the building cool, Kohsla says the central courtyard is also an important space for learning at the school.

DPS Kindergarten by Khosla Associates

"The courtyard is the soul of the school," he explains. "In the gurukal system of education in ancient India the disciples would sit at the feet of their guru under the shade of the largest tree in the village."

"In this school too you have a lot of outdoor learning happening in the courtyard, either on the steps of the corridors or around the frangipane trees. It's all integrated into this central courtyard."

Sandeep Khosla of Khosla Associates
Sandeep Khosla of Khosla Associates. Copyright: Dezeen

Inside Festival 2013 took place at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 2 to 4 October. The next Inside Festival will take place at the same venue from 1 to 3 October 2014. Award entries are open February to June 2014.