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Poly Grad Wins Award for India School Design

A Cal Poly architecture graduate has won a prestigious award for designing a school for the poor in India, the university announced.

Karin Bjorkman, who graduated in 2016 in architecture, won an award in the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment or AIA COTE, competition for her design of a residential school in a rural part of India designed to “improve the poor living conditions for children there,” the school said in a news release. The competition was held in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Her student thesis design, “A Residential School in Andhra Pradesh,” received one of 10 awards for “exceptional student projects” out of more than 600 entries nationwide.

The school in Andhra Pradesh, located in the Eastern Coastal region of India, attempted to improve the lives of children that would otherwise be forced into child labor, receive a low quality of education, and public disinterest. “A residential primary school offers a quality education and a refuge from child labor,” the university said, “while seeking to maintain in students a passion for their local identity rather than spurring them to leave the area.”

Bjorkman traveled to India and her design emphasizes sustainable measures that she learned about during the 1-week trip. She gained insight on cultural nuances and subtle programmatic needs, producing a more rounded, practical project. Her research led to a mockup to show the effectiveness of her design.

What she developed was a 17,200 square foot campus, to enable the education annually of 200 children between the ages of 6 and 12. The school houses students in 10 dormitories and serves daily meals for the duration of the academic year.

There’s a playground, residences for administration and a vegetable garden for on-site food production, too.

The jury selected the 10 winners according to 10 measures: design and innovation, regional/community design, land use and ecology, bioclimatic design, light and air, water cycle, energy flows and energy future, materials and construction, long life/loose fit, and collective wisdom and feedback loops.

“This project is well researched and fitting to the place and climate, with a positive community aspect,” the competition’s jurors said of Bjorkman’s project. “The colors are beautiful and convey the delight of sustainable design. Wonderful use of traditional materials and vernacular architecture. The graphics are compelling and the image of building walls gives a sense of tactile exploration.”

Bjorkman was advised by Cal Poly sponsor, Daniel Wiens from Journeyman International, and , Architecture Prof. Sandy Stannard.

See: www.acsa-arch.org/programs-events/competitions/2016-2017-cote-top-ten-for-students for more information about the competition and Bjorkman’s project.

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