The team at CollectiveProject clearly possesses an exceptional nuance in re-imagining and re-purposing existing built spaces and the evidence is Ekya Early Years, located in Bengaluru’s fast-crowding Kanakpura area. One of the major challenges architects Cyrus Patell and Eliza Higgins faced was stabilising the existing building which was in major disrepair, so that it was suitable for a school. The building was once an abandoned watch factory surrounded by 2 acres of overgrown neglect.
The 13 classrooms are accessed by a covered walkway; there is a ‘jungle’ courtyard from which 4 paths set in a pinwheel-pattern reach out to the outer sections of activity. All spaces are low on barriers, generous in play spaces and whimsically peppered with coves fit for reading and relaxing. Constant connection with the natural world outside was given priority during the design process which will serve as a prototype whilst realising other branches of the school’s brand. There is something to be said about the placid, colour-coded charm of this Bengaluru one though, and about its naughty little detours in the midst of careful structure.