WE SHAPE OUR BUILDINGS, THEREAFTER THEY SHAPE US- WINSTON CHURCHILL
“Is this where I am going to study, Mom?”, little Aadhi asked, getting down their Auto Anna’s auto. His eyes went wide and tinkled with mischief as he looked around, at the vast ground, the colorful play area and at the beautiful landscape, come alive around him. Aadhi loved his old school and friends so much and was hesitant when Shailaja informed him of his upcoming interaction in the new school.
“But mom, this is amazing!”, he jumped up and down, his eyes all over the place. The School that stood majestically, towering over him was an earthy red hue, with large white windows and a gallery atop an auditorium. He was even more captivated by the greenery, a row of sound filtering trees swaying in the breeze, tucked neatly in front of the building. Shalaja smiled at his infectious happiness and strolled inside, noting the lovely veronica climber creeping in the front portico.
“Mom, look…is that an alien?”, Aadhi excitedly pointed to the three poles standing on the front lawn. “No son, they are totem poles. They are reclaimed tree trunks that have been shaped and fine figures have been chiseled on them. Can you see the face of a man on it? These kind of poles have been made by Red Indians, ages ago!”, recounts Shailaja.
Aadhi is now even more attentive, his small head moving side to side, eager to decipher something new. “Look, I found out what this is! It’s a fossil!”, he shouts breathless, almost. “It is not, Aadhi. It is a varnished dead coffee tree trunk…see how it is twisted and turned!” “Oh…I thought this is a fossil Mom”, Aadhi is even more fascinated by The School now. “The office is on first floor, Aadhi. Come, let’s go”, Shailaja pulls him along as he reluctantly climbs the ramp of aesthetically laid slate tiles.
“You won’t hurt yourself if you fall on this floor, Aadhi. This is made of slate, not too hard like ceramic tiles for your feet”, quips Shailaja, as Aadhi runs ahead of her, and stops short, the tinkling of wind chimes resonating in the still November air. Wind chimes in a school? “Mom…wind chimesssss!”, he exclaims and tries to touch it, jumping and looks sullen when he couldn’t reach them. Shailaja smiles at her son lovingly and rings the chime once. The melodious tinkling reverberates along the corridor as Aadhi laughs merrily, his voice shadowing the tinkling.
The entry to office and reception area is brisk, staff hurrying along, the whole place abuzz. The duo are asked to wait in the visitor’s hall and they sit silent, Aadhi now a bit perplexed, yet composed. “Are you scared, Aadhi?”, Shailaja gently prods, “Did you like the school?”. Aadhi reverts to his own jolly self and narrates, “Mom, this school…Arjun says this school has acted in movies!” “Haha…we don’t call that ‘acted’, Aadhi, that is ‘featured’”. Aadhi is now curious. “Mom, tell me more about this school, no?”
As Shailaja looks around for help, the lady sitting next to them, flashes her best smile. “Hi! Aadhi…I am Madhoo. How are you?” Aadhi nods shyly and looks away. “This school area alone is 3 acres. The school building, sports arena, swimming pool and laboratory block, all of them are designed quite impressively. The building has been built as per Green Building norms. The Indian Green Building Council has rated the school with 90 points and it has bagged the Platinum Rating, Global Leadership recognition for its successful implementation of green norms. It has also bagged the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, for its pioneering design in energy conservation and eco-friendly construction. This is the first school in Chennai to receive both the certifications, you know? I am an architect and I know what has gone into this building- the effort, the hard work and will…The children get to know of
Just as she finishes, Aadhi is being called for the interaction and he throws pensive glances at Shailaja. “ Come dear..” calls the sweet smiling staff and he prances along the corridor, the lively athangudi tiles blooming at his feet.