• Vaishali Shankar - Kinjal Vora

2021: Beginning anew – a joyful reimagining of our schools!

Write-up and Concept Storyboards by Vaishali Shankar

The Design Director at SJK Architects that we all love and depend upon, has written in the wake of her dilemmas about her son starting school amid a pandemic.

Illustrations by Kinjal Vora

Our bright young fresher who jumped into the idea of illustrating this blog using parts of our buildings and populating them with spunky lively kids!

We were keen on an IB education for our child for the freedom in learning it offers. But as we scouted for schools, we found that despite the openness of their curriculum, ironically, IB schools are synonymous with closed, boxy, air-conditioned buildings!

Our child was to start going to a ‘big’ school in August 2020. But instead, this year marked the start of virtual schooling for children across a locked down planet. While most parents were very happy to have schooling start even if on-line, most fret about the prolonged exposure to screens and the sense of isolation that the kids may feel.

But normalcy will return. And when it does, the favourite question is – what lessons will we take back from this strange period in our lives? How do we ensure thriving post-covid schools?

Two great needs stand out- To design buildings that do not encourage infections from spreading by providing really good cross ventilation and to design buildings with enough spaces for social interactions for strengthening human connections post this isolation that children have been through.

These design principles have been a part of our work at SJK Architects - some aspect or the other exists in several of our projects. We have taken the opportunity to look at past and present projects to discuss these.

One: Use screens to draw wind into the building:


Drawing from the use of ‘jalis’ in vernacular buildings, these sun-shading devices add a layer to the windows, ensuring that direct sun (and, therefore, heat) is blocked, while the gaps in the ‘jalis’ still allow wind in.


The screens move to open up completely in the winters and shut when the sun is scorching bright during the summers.


[Images 1, 2 and 3- Wooden ‘jalis’ protect the windows of a Family Home at Nagpur, allowing for natural ventilation, keeping the interiors cool and satisfying the need for privacy.]

Two: Open up the North for social spaces: