SOCIAL MISSION: DAHANU SCHOOL

Dahanu is a small town, approximately 60 kilometer from Virar. It is also well connected by Local trains and due to train connectivity,  the place has visible transformation in last two years. Traditionally the place is known for Chikoo plantation, due to abundant water resources and soil condition. The majority of of the land resources are reserved for either for Chikoo plantation or forest. 

The frequent visit to dahanu for house construction site visit has revealed the living dimensions of the town in manifold. The agrarian society, adivasi settlements, reserve forest, industrialization of non agricultural land, privately owned farms along with the earlier inhabitant of the city, broadly defines the character & landscape of the town. The bi linguistic nature of local habitant makes the place unique as majority of them are Maharashtrian and Marathi speaking  population, yet conveniently adopted Gujarati dialect. 

It also has revealed the various social entrepreneurs that existed within the central and periphery of the town, attempting to contribute to social development of either by skills, traditional cultural and social values, education and health. One of the organization is run by Mr. Babu, who is attempting to contribute to social development through education of adivasi children through innovative system of school academics.

The campus is located in skirt of dense vegetation, touching large water stream, partly in reserve forest and partly habitable land. The school imparts education up to 8th standard in English. However the real difference is in the method of educating children through holistic system revolves around making/doing and learning. The students are required to come at eight in the morning and leaves late in the evening. The books, food, study & sports material is supplied by the schools.  The students engages into agriculture, cooking, and all other activities that are part of their daily life. 

As part of their everyday activities, the building of campus infrastructure is also incremental in nature, i:e, build along with study. The typology of building also demonstrated the bare minimum-ness along with surprising accuracy of detailing. The material canvas is restricted to bricks, mats, metal and manglore tiles. 

The house also stated stoic simplicity with intricate understanding of construction and details. The load bearing walls, recycled wooden roof, doors and windows, courtyard, terrace garden, all of them on first glance appeared to be template of sensitive architect. But the entire house is build by the owner with help of labours, along with bricks  moulded and baked in situ, doors and windows, roof are entirely recycled. The finishing materials are Kotah stone, yellow oxide floor. 

The last conversation with the owner on his understanding on architecture revealed the basic trait that ” building has to breath” instead of ventilation. The word breath is metaphor of existence and architecture is essential part of existential reality. The last detail that missed out completely was the roof was detached from wall, allowing glow of day light scooping, and en living the space, making architecture worthy of its existence.

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