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Friday, April 25, 2014

CID Seminar: BaLA: School Building as a Learning Aid

BaLA or Building as Learning Aid is a concept developed by VINYÃS in India. BaLA centers on using the uniqueness of three-dimensional spaces to create child-centric learning settings and resources in schools. It aims to innovate school spaces (corridors, classrooms, activity rooms, terraces, backyards, etc) and school built elements (like walls, floor, ceiling, door, windows) to create new learning resources that acquire an educational value beyond their basic function. For example, angles can be marked under door shutters to give children a concrete idea about the angles in real life, or the window grill can be shaped as a pre-writing aid to help in the development of fine and gross motor movement of hands. The window glass panels can be used as a tracing surface for maps etc, so that the built environment can be harnessed to provide learning material which may not be easily accessible to children in rural India. There is a pool of more than 150 such design ideas for pre-schools and elementary schools that has been developed by VINYÃS that can stimulate children through spaces in their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and aesthetic domains. Since inception, VINYÃS has advised and provided consultancy to the Government of India, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, the World Bank, Department for International Development of UK (DFID), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Aga Khan Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Housing and Urban Development Corporation, several Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private institutions on matters related to education, early childhood care, building design, conservation, tourism, training, construction, policy, etc. Apart from research and design, VINYÃS conducts workshops and training programmes for administrators, architects, engineers, teachers and masons in participative design and construction practices. One of the key idea developed by VINYÃS has been BaLA - Building as Learning Aid, which is gradually transforming schools and pre-schools across India now. Kabir and Preeti are architects based in India with extensive experience in developing learning environments of schools in rural as well as urban areas. Preeti is also an Urban Planner and Professor. They both co-founded VINYÃS in 1996 – to undertake innovative, application oriented, interdisciplinary research and to design, build capacity and provide policy support to expand the value of the built envelope. Their work was amongst the 32 Great stories of change: Inventive Indians in 2009. DOMUS, an international architecture and design magazine covered their work in 2011. A leading Indian magazine, The Week identified Kabir as one of the 30 "Pearls of India," in December 2011. Kabir was elected to become life time Ashoka Fellow by Ashoka Innovators for the Public in 2012.

  • Location:
    Perkins Room (R-415), 4th Floor Rubenstein, HKS
  • Date:
    Friday, April 25, 2014
  • Time:
    2:00 PM

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