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PMK Architects: Interiors Architecture Green Building Architects in Bangalore Architect Observations and Recommendations for the High School at Maure Village, Nepal - PMK Architects

Architect Observations and Recommendations for the High School at Maure Village, Nepal

    The site is located on a flat pad adjoining the existing primary school which currently sits on a higher ground. The site is surrounded by steep terrain on all sides and lots of care has to be taken to place the classroom blocks. Its proximity to the existing primary school is a plus for student interaction and other logistics.

    Master Plan:
    The newly built block becomes the reference point to organize the rest of the classroom blocks and supporting facilities such as toilet, staff areas, assembly, play areas etc. The orientation of the blocks could be laid out in such a way that a safe and enclosed play area can be formed along with a wide enough space for a student gathering facing an open air stage. This space also connects to the primary school giving a sense of integration yet segregation. The low lying newly acquired area is not wide enough for a classroom block but is ideal for the toilet block which is right now built in an inappropriate location. This new space is low enough to hide the toilet without compromising on the natural ventilation since the other side is open to light and ventilation. The level difference could be used to the advantage where the flat slab above the toilet block can be a dining or any common activity area. The toilet can be accessed down by steps from the classroom level. Also, this toilet would not be too far from the existing toilet which is at a higher level and hence the water storage tanks can be consolidated on top of the existing toilet roof. The sudden drop in level also helps in better sanitation on the open side of the toilet.
    The idea of aligning the new block with the already built block may not be a safe approach since the site is tapering inward with a steep terrain skirting the edge of the flat area. Though an effort to build a stepped stone wall to curb any soil erosion is being planned, the classroom block may still be sitting on unstable, filled-up earth. Therefore it is safer to shift the new block inward into the site on a firmer ground as shown in the conceptual master plan. A patch of open land may be available along the proposed stone wall which may be leveled and used for other outdoor sports that do not have a risk of going out of bounds. A simple chain-link fence of about 10 feet tall may be essential along this steep edge. The sketch also shows the other new blocks placed in a way to accommodate a play area where kids can be in an enclosed well-defined boundary.
    The newly built block is constructed with adequate sizes and proportions and with acceptable quality. The classroom space can accommodate about 40 students. The rooms may not require two sets of doors and hence it is either recommended to replace the second door with another window or a wall. There is enough natural light and ventilation by means of the windows provided and hence the higher level light between the wall and the roof may not be necessary. This space may also create glare and other complications. So it is suggested that the same corrugated GI sheet can be used to cover the space. This sheet can be fastened to the joist at the eave and to the tube steel purlins of the roof by means of anchor bolts similar to the ones used to fix the roof but in a reverse way so as to not puncture the roof sheet (see detail). This arrangement helps keep the rain and wind outside and encloses the gaps between the wall and the roof on all exposed sides including the gable ends.
    Considering the harsh climate, it is suggested that the metal roof be lined with a 2” layer of glass wood ( or fiberglass insulation held in place by chicken wire (normally used at a poultry farm) at the bottom side of the insulation. The glass wool is supplied in rolls and can be rolled out after the metal roof is installed. This will provide thermal and acoustical insulation as may be required during various prolonged climatic seasons. Please refer to the detail for its location and fixity.
    Further it is recommended to change the window shutters from fully blocked metal sheet to partially glazed with either polycarbonate sheet or glass where appropriate and if budget permits. If the windows were to remain opaque the upper gap between the roof and the wall may be covered by polycarbonate sheets at intervals to allow for natural light during harsh weather conditions and when windows need to be in closed condition. Cement boards for door shutters may be a better option than thin metal sheets that are installed now as they are resistant to abuse.
    Finally, a word of caution on the techniques used to make the buildings earthquake resistant.

    Nepal School

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