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The British School

An International education with an Indian Soul

Morphogenesis

The new British School in central New Delhi gives physical form to the concept of “an international education with an Indian soul”. In setting itself this rigorous cultural framework, architecture practice Morphogenesis has produced a program that couples international with contemporary Indian architecture. Over the last two decades, the global economy has pushed architecture to standardize the way projects are designed and built. Although recognizing this international yardstick, Morphogenesis’ approch to contemporary Indian architecture has nonetheless remained anchored to traditions that reflect its many different environments. With this vast heterogeneous project, Morphogenesis combines two elements that aptly sum up the Indian contribution to global architecture: pertinence to context, i.e. buildings that are profoundly rooted in, and suited to their environment, and an ability to overcome material sourcing difficulties with natural and sustainable solutions. In India, as in other regions where materials are scarce, contemporary architecture projects excel at finding compromise construction techniques that rely on the availability of low-cost labor. Employing local workers and craftsmen not only makes up for the lack of mechanized building capability; more importantly, it sustains the general economy and communities that make a living from their traditional know-how. In this sense, architectural projects take on a wider, more complex significance that has to do with sustaining social, cultural and time-honored ways of life. The worksite becomes a means of helping traditions and local craftsmanship survive. This approach was very much to the fore in the building of the new British School in New Delhi. As well as a complex, participative project designed to suit its particular physical context, the school also took on board these wider social and functional implications. From the outside, the building presents as an imposing white block with...

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