Within the GYAAN Center, designed by the New York architect Diana Kellogg, stands this school built with local sandstone that welcomes more than 400 girls from families living below the poverty line, in a region where female literacy barely reaches 36%. A commission of the Citta Foundation, the GYAAN project in Jaisalmer involves raising two other buildings in the future, including exhibition spaces, a library, and a women’s cooperative where weaving and embroidery crafts of local tradition can be passed on.
At the start of the design process Kellogg analyzed different cultures’ symbols of female strength, and this led to three ovals representing the power for femininity and infinity. They also evoke the curved forms of historical forts in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Blending into the landscape of the Thar Desert, the ellipse construction has walls with openings to let air flow in and cool the interiors. Solar panels have been incorporated, as have old vernacular techniques for harvesting rainwater.
Escuela de niñas Rajkumari Ratnavati, Jaisalmer (India)
Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School, Jaisalmer (India).
Diana Kellogg Architects.
Kareem Khan Construction.