Home Inspiartional This College’s Options Let College students Navigate By Scent, Contact & Sound

This College’s Options Let College students Navigate By Scent, Contact & Sound

This College’s Options Let College students Navigate By Scent, Contact & Sound


Image this — a college particularly designed to cater to the wants of these with visible disabilities. And bringing this to fruition is a college in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, setting the bar excessive for its inclusive architectural design. 

With its distinctive development and considerate design, the college empowers youngsters to depend on their different senses to navigate via the tutorial area.

Adorned with white partitions and ethereal courtyards, ‘The College for The Blind and Visually Impaired’, designed by SEALabs, is devoted to those specific college students.

“Each visually impaired little one has totally different wants, and we wished to create an area that was inclusive of all of them,” says Anand Sonecha, the architect of SEALabs, chatting with The Higher India.

So, how does this faculty assist its youngsters navigate? I’m glad you requested!

‘Discovered inspiration in lots of place’

Anand began his observe again in 2015 and had by no means labored on creating a college earlier than. “When Viren Joshi, the president of the college, approached me to take a look, I used to be very honoured. I used to be excited to get to the college and begin the designing course of,” he shares. 

Explaining the concept behind the college, he says, “There was an present constructing however was in a nasty situation. It was a college for underprivileged youngsters with visible impairment.” 

There have been two buildings — one was a hostel facility and the opposite one was the college. “In every room, twelve to fifteen college students have been residing in bunk beds. Consequently, a call was made to assemble a brand new tutorial constructing and convert the present construction totally right into a hostel facility. This might enable for redistribution of scholars throughout the bottom and first flooring, whereas offering them with extra snug and improved residing areas.”

The School for The Blind and Visually Impaired is located in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The College for The Blind and Visually Impaired is situated in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Whereas Anand was excited to get on board the challenge, he lacked a supply of inspiration. To seek out that, he determined to spend time with the youngsters. 

“I started observing how college students navigate via totally different locations and areas, figuring out their preferences and gathering spots. Moreover, I made buddies with college students to raised perceive their every day routines, likes, and dislikes throughout the present faculty. Equally, I engaged in discussions with academics to discover methods to reinforce the training surroundings,” he says. 

Moreover, Anand additionally began to go to faculties for youngsters with visible impairment throughout the nation. 

“The Victoria Memorial College for the Blind in Mumbai left an enduring impression on me due to its exceptional magnificence, regardless of being an adaptively reused constructing. Nevertheless, I discovered only a few good examples of faculties particularly designed for customers with disabilities. Because of this, I later volunteered on the Perkins College for the Blind in Massachusetts, one of many oldest faculties in the US. Established in 1829, it boasts a wealthy historical past with stalwarts like Helen Keller, Laura Bridgman, and Anne Sullivan who all studied there,” he says. 

He discovered great mentors within the US and was capable of finding the fitting path for the challenge.

“After I went out on the lookout for inspiration, I realised the way it was not one place that might assist me however lots. Visiting varied faculties was an incredible studying arc for me,” he says. 

Utilizing 5 senses to navigate

The varsity is designed to be navigated with the assistance of 4 senses: sight, listening to, contact, and scent.

“Solely 15% of individuals with blindness expertise an entire lack of sight. Nearly all of people who’re blind could understand mild or color, and people with totally different impairments have various levels of usable imaginative and prescient,” he says. 

The school walls have different textures for students to recognise the classes.
The varsity partitions have totally different textures for college students to recognise the lessons.

Retaining this in thoughts, Anand designed a college that makes use of color, scent, and lightweight to differentiate every class. 


“We employed 5 various kinds of wall plasters and textures for college students to establish areas. Moreover, for ease of navigation, we utilised totally different textures on the ground, incorporating tough and easy Kota stone, which marks the entry factors of the lecture rooms,” he says.

Every space classroom, hall, and courtyard within the faculty is marked and written in Braille.

Listening to:

For one more navigation approach that utilises listening to, Anand varies the volumes and heights of the buildings, creating totally different echoes and sounds to help college students in figuring out locations.

“For example, the doorway of the college encompasses a broad and tall quantity, whereas the alternative facet has a shorter quantity and is narrower. This distinction in width and peak produces a definite echo in comparison with the doorway. College students, as a part of their coaching, stroll, discuss, and even clap to practise utilizing totally different methods for figuring out areas,” he says. 


To make navigation straightforward for college students who can understand color in mild, he used totally different colors.

“On condition that many low imaginative and prescient college students are finding out within the faculty, one other side we needed to contemplate was utilizing contrasting colors and lighting to assist college students establish objects, furnishings, and areas,” he says. 

He provides, “For example, every classroom door is brightly painted, the doorway is in a unique vibrant color, and the bathroom doorways are painted in contrasting but vibrant colors. This strategy ensures that college students with low imaginative and prescient can readily establish and find essential components, such because the switchboard.”


Moreover, to make the lecture rooms much more distinctive from one another, the architect determined to interact the sense of scent.

He says, “We have now additionally planted fragrant vegetation at entries, which may help college students in marking and figuring out locations. These components function totally different clues included into our design. College students, based mostly on their consolation and understanding, use these clues to navigate the constructing.”

The school has brightly coloured doors to help the students with partial vision navigate better.
The varsity has brightly colored doorways to assist the scholars with partial imaginative and prescient navigate higher.

Inclusive, sustainable and a haven for the scholars

There are 5 particular lecture rooms and 7 lecture rooms with particular person courtyards within the faculty.

“The furnishings association was additionally essential, and the form and measurement of the lecture rooms developed based mostly on how college students would sit. To make sure equal consideration from the instructor, we designed a ‘C’ formed seating association the place every scholar is in shut proximity to the instructor,” he says. 

Anand additionally believed that the kids also needs to get the possibility to study outside, therefore he included the courtyards. 

“We additionally recognised that studying doesn’t solely occur throughout the classroom however extends past its partitions. Contemplating this, the presence of courtyards grew to become essential. Along with their academic significance, there have been sensible causes for incorporating courtyards,” he shares. 

“The realm experiences a scorching and dry local weather, which might be difficult for college students with low imaginative and prescient delicate to direct mild. To deal with this, we ensured that the courtyard offers filtered mild to the lecture rooms,” he provides. 

Oblique mild was a major concern because the architect aimed to supply a snug studying surroundings for low-vision college students with minimal glare.

“To guard the low-vision college students from direct mild glare, we determined to deliver daylight from the roof and never from home windows,” he says. 

A haven for its college students, the college is also sustainable in its roots. “We determined to be very frugal with what we have been utilizing. We used solely locally-sourced supplies resembling Kota stone and planted greater than 1,000 vegetation of 37 totally different varieties,” he says. 

There are five special classrooms and seven classrooms with individual courtyards in the school.
There are 5 particular lecture rooms and 7 lecture rooms with particular person courtyards within the faculty.

Anand defined that he planted the shrubs to draw butterflies and birds, and to diversify and enhance the pure surroundings.

A conventional rainwater harvesting approach generally known as Khambhati Kuva (Percolation nicely) was carried out. The nicely, with a diameter of 10 toes and a depth of 30 toes, is designed to gather rainwater and recharge the bottom. This nicely can take up 45,000 to 60,000 litres of water in only one hour.

Up and working since 2021, Anand says trying again at his work, “As knowledgeable, I strategy all initiatives with the identical depth. Nevertheless, engaged on this challenge was distinctive. In our architectural training, we had by no means delved into questions on customers to this extent. It opened my eyes to the realisation that in designing any constructing, be it public constructions or total cities, we should contemplate a various set of customers, making certain that none are excluded.”

He provides, “The lesson of inclusivity that I realized from this expertise has profoundly influenced my strategy to new initiatives, the place I try to include the precious insights gained from the college challenge.”

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)

(All picture credit score: SEAlabs)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here