Partly a building, partly a challenge course the Learning Pavilion, designed by Architecture Brio, is an interactive building used as a gathering space and play area for Mumbai’s underprivileged children located on the Magic Bus Centre for Experiential Learning.
The pavilion designed by Architecture Brio is located on the Magic Bus Centre for Experiential Learning, situated near Mumbai at the foot of the Western Ghats. Magic Bus is an NGO which seeks to educate and mentor children through outdoor “experiential” learning.
Realizing that children in the city are the worst affected by the scarcity of space, Matthew Space founded Magic Bus in 1999. The first phase of this project comprising of children’s dormitories, a dining pavilion, volunteers accommodation and a resources centre was designed by Rahul Mehrotra Associates. A challenge course with climbing walls, Jacob’s ladders and zip lines completed the first phase. Architecture Brio was asked to design the second phase of the project, which included proposals for staff accommodation, a facilitation center for corporates and the Laureus Learning Pavilion.
While a learning pavilion on an outdoor campus for underprivileged children is a very specific program, the pavilion needs to be able accommodate a wide variety of activities such as team building workshops, games, briefing sessions, group discussions, craft classes, raft building and climbing.
Architecture Brio located the Learning Pavilion on a confluence of four important landscape elements: a seasonal stream turns around a hillock and culminates in a river while flanging an existing soccer field. These elements are emphasized by strategically placing the various activities of the Learning Pavilion on either side of the banks of the stream.
From the soccer field a log-bridge placed on excavated rocks leads you over the stream to the hillock. A series of steps up the hill ends on a cement floored children’s game area which becomes a viewing platform of the sports field during the soccer matches played here. Tucked away below this deck inside the hill are the toilet facilities for the pavilion. A 29 meter long plexiglass roof stretches out covering a second deck and a large double height workshop space. This airy, double height space will be used to play games, build rafts, use the mini Jacobs ladder or just sit in the shade.
Below the timber deck a watersports store room with kayaks and canoes is enclosed by a series of steel mesh double doors. This deck projects out over the sports field and becomes a viewing platform of the surrounding trees. Two wooden climbing ladders take the children down to the granite stone paved ground floor.
The lightweight structure of the pavilion consisting of dark green painted steel columns and a semi-transparent roof allows it to disappear in the background. As the budget for the project was considerably low, the structure is designed such that it uses the least amount of materials with the maximum amount of covered, shaded spaces. The space below the roof is open to all sides. In the summer months the shade of the roof creates a respite from the heat while natural breeze flowing from the river cools the covered spaces. During the monsoon months the pavilion becomes a dry space to take cover from heavy rains.
Encouraging children to find their own path up, down and across the pavilion through various ways, it challenges them to overcome boundaries. It integrates sport and activity as an integral part of the architecture, bringing to life Magic Bus’s philosophy of social change through sport.
Learning Pavilion, Magic Bus Centre for Experiential Learning, Karjat, Mumbai, India
Architects: Architecture Brio
Design Team: Robert Verrijt, Shefali Balwani, Sahil Deshpande, Pankaj Chakraborty, Ryan Mcloughlin
Structural Design: Vijay K. Patil Associates
Area: 275 sqm
Client: Magic Bus India Foundation
Sponsors: Laureus Foundation
Completion: Dicember 2013