Days 12, 13, 14: Focusing on the Classrooms

A small team looked in detail at how the existing dark, cramped classrooms could be improved.

With design input from Gerard da Cunha proposals were developed for some medium/long term proposals including bringing more light in to the rooms via a raised roof light and enlarged windows, creating additional space for each class by forming a new door to the back of the classroom block so that the outdoor space behind could be used by the students, and forming a new timber floor across the whole of the classroom which would make the rooms warmer and would allow the girls to sit on the floor for more informal teaching sessions.

Too small, too dark, too cold – Long term proposal:

  • Extend the classroom space creating outdoor learning spaces in the dead space between the existing classroom block and the boundary wall.
  • Each class would have an individual outdoor space so each class has its own identity.  Possibility of gardening or other competitions between the classrooms to encourage the girls to take pride in their outdoor space.
  • A timber frame in the outdoor space would support a plastic sheet that could be rolled down in winter to create a buffer ‘greenhouse’ space that would be heated by the sun which is strong all year round.  This would allow the outdoor space to be used in the winter too and would improve the environmental conditions within the classrooms.
  • Insulation (made from recycled materials) could be added in the roof zone to help keep the rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • On the external walls a layer of cork or particle board that could provide insulation as well as being used as pin board space so the girls’ work can be displayed around the classroom.
  • The light in the classroom will be improved by the introduction of a raised skylight and light tunnel (coated with a reflective surface) inserted through the existing tin roof.  One roof light would be shared by two classrooms to minimise the construction cost.”

 – Joanne Massoubre

Short term proposals to improve the classrooms include repainting the walls (with the introduction of some colour) and painting the ceilings white to make the rooms brighter.

Noticeboards integrated into decorative murals would cheer up the rooms whilst allowing some work to be displayed around the walls.

We were privileged to be joined by the renowned Goan architect, Gerard da Cunha, for 3 days.  As well as working with the participants during the development of their design proposals we were treated to a number of fascinating lectures on his work and on Goan vernacular architecture.  Highlights included learning about his innovative use of waste materials and the way



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