Hariharpur, India 2013
A participatory design & build project in collaboration with a small rural village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Weekly design workshops engaged the families to bridge caste systems and gender to build a school and sanitation facilities for their own children.
The project was located in Hariharpur, a small village in rural Uttar Pradesh with a unique tradition of classical music. The Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD) has been working to protect and promote this valuable cultural heritage through the provision of basic infrastructure – including health, education and sanitation. Together with the teachers of the school, parents, local artisans and craftspeople, the design and construction of the school presented an opportunity to learn from vernacular building methods, reinterpreting and evolving them to create a building which addresses today’s needs and aspirations. The workshops to design a space to improve the environment for their children became a platform for parents of different casts to collectively contribute towards the future of the village. The teachers of the schools were trained in the process, and the workshop later became a tool for them to engage with the families within the village. Every step of the research, design and building process was used to trigger small positive change to build a strong sense of collaboration, ownership and pride within the community of Hariharpur.