The key goal to our project with Anusaran was to design a building that will provide shelter and a nurturing, healthy environment to those young girls and women who want to be educated and self-sufficient, but whose families are unable to support them. In August 2010 myself and 5 others spent 3 weeks in the impoverished suburb of Delhi where Anusaran is based, where we focused on integrating with the community, studying the local building and living traditions, conversing with the teachers and students at Anusaran and ultimately putting together a design which could be used by local contractors. The building is currently under construction.
The completed three story structure will provide several functions, with the ground floor offering a large multi functional space that can bring revenue to the project through functions and conferences, as well as hosting the regular women’s empowerment group and school activities. The floor above will be dedicated to classrooms for about 200 children as well as multi-purpose space and kitchen facilities, while the top floor will provide accommodation and living areas for up to 20 women plus volunteers and visitors
There are two main functions of the building: there’s a women’s empowerment project, so we have provided accommodation for women in the area who are experiencing difficult times; and then there’s spaces for the kids. Our main drive was to connect these two areas, focusing on the idea of establishing a community, to create a family feeling in a fun space.
The main internal spaces are defined by a very simple structural grid, but within that grid we found the freedom to create a dynamic relationship between the different floors and functions through an a atrium void, and a relationship with the outside through large openings in the facade. The building is an introverted community, and a safe haven for the children and women to come to, but it is also strongly connected to the wider community by it’s views and strong presence in the area.