Time for Big Change

It’s that time of the year again! Not just a time to enjoy toe-curling Iftar delicacies (we do love our haleem in Hyderabad) and shop at night bazaars, but also, and more importantly, a time to practice self-restraint, to let go of old grudges, to form new good habits, and to give to the needy.

Last Ramadan, we shared the story of a project that we’ve been working on for the upliftment of the community, a charity school in Golconda for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We designed the Hilltop School on a tight budget and within constraints of heritage-zone bye-laws and a highly-contoured site, using economical local materials and planning a low-maintenance, sustainable and earth-friendly future for the building.

We’re honored that our design won the Telangana Young Architect 2016 award by the Indian Institute of Architects and was nominated for the Environmental Design category by the Grohe NDTV Design & Architecture Awards 2016. This project was also featured in Volume Zero Design Magazine.

Last Sunday, DesignAware led a guided urban walk through our project, the #HilltopSchool aka Bright Horizon Academy. We were thrilled to be joined by enthusiastic architecture students and professionals for the walk, which was a part of the Tracing Narratives: Indian Landscape Design travelling exhibition’s Hyderabad stop.

The school, being distributed over three levels on a highly contoured site, meets the ground at each level. Two separate entrances from the lower ground level and the upper ground level provide access to the school. The urban walk was divided into two groups (red and blue), and each group entered from a separate level. Each route reveals its own surprises, which can only be experienced the first time. The building is, thus, essentially experiential. Both groups met on the middle ground level. An interactive session, in which participants from each group described their two contrasting experiences, was followed by a presentation (crashed by a surprise guest!) about the design and construction process of the project, after which each group dispersed to opposite levels, completing the walk.

The walk studied the urban context of Bara Seedee, Golconda, in the foothills of the Golconda Fort, and the winding lanes of the area. The low-rise, high-density settlements on one side, as well as the wide expanse of the city on the other, form a framework from which to view the design. The peculiar terrain of the hill called for very specific on-site design solutions, the evidence of which is manifest in the school structure and its response to challenges arising during construction.

Further urban walks can be arranged upon request, please write to us at info@designaware.org with subject #UrbanWalk if you’d like to participate!

Bright Horizon Academy is now up and running! This is a non-profit co-educational charity school that follows the CBSE syllabus and runs mostly on zakat funds. Students’ books, uniforms and mid-day meals are provided free of cost. It is run by the Mohammadia Educational Trust. Through our #MakeProgressPossible campaign that resulted in generous contributions and donations the last two years, we were able to raise funds for the school infrastructure. If you would like to assist in the running of the school by:

  • donating old books, children’s clothes, educational games and stationery
  • buying new school supplies for the school or its students
  • arranging for student meals
  • making a monetary contribution that will go toward setting up and running the school

Write to us at info@designaware.org or tweet to us @designawareorg using #MakeProgressPossible and we’ll direct you to the registered trust, and you’ll be able to make a legitimate donation, wherever you are. There’s no time like this blessed month to make a difference and earn rewards manifold.

As Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said,

“Charity never decreases wealth. Rather, it increases it, it increases it, it increases it.”

[Sahih Muslim]

We wish you a fruitful and peace-filled month, and hope that you will use this month to bring about significant, positive and lasting change in your life. May you be able to meet all your Ramadan goals!

“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?”

Quran 57:11