The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2018
Berkeley Prize 2018

Raksha VH and Swetha Manivannan Proposal

So-less to Solace: Solving issues across generations

Social art can either be the extension of architecture or the definition of it. PART TO WHOLE

According to a survey conducted by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 63% of children between the ages of 11 to 13 dropped out of school in Karnataka, India for the year 2017-18.

“My School”, a government-funded school in Bangalore, Karnataka tries to rectify this statistic with the use of Building As a Learning Aid (BALA). BALA is a design model conceptualized by Kabir Vajpyi that has a very simple principle - The building itself becomes the teacher.

As 7-year-old Kanika walks through the corridor, unlike the previously dilapidated walls, her fingers trace the path of a prominent river in the state thus giving her a map of the many states it passes by. Instead of a mere sentence lost in a textbook, geography gets visual here. Her eyes would measure the angle of the door on the protractor, painted on the floor of her classroom. In the Computer Lab, she looks up to an aerial installation on the ceiling to see a computer model connected to the 7 continents and learns the idea of World Wide Web, the foundation stones of technology.


Help Age India estimates that Bangalore ranks the highest (75%) in senior citizens suffering through discriminatory, financial and psychological abuse.

Shanthidham Retirement Home in Bangalore, a community designed by Architect Renu Mistry, reforms the neglect that many elderly citizens face. It is paradise on earth while other retirement homes paint the picture of loneliness and disconnect from their family.

On a typical day here, you would find Mr. Karthik, aged 70, energetically striding along the shaded pathways amidst foliage. These pathways lead him to the heart of this community, the prayer hall that fills itself with residents’ chants in the evening, magnifying their enthusiasm to re-establish an identity. He has a clear view of the temple from here, that they all seem to find strength in. Keeping in line with inclusive philosophies, the OAT, a common cafeteria and the idea of shared accommodation make it a cohesive space that creates a home away from home, literally.


In a country struggling to educate it’s society, what if the building you spent most of your day in taught you better than books? ‘My School’ saw an attendance hike from 62% to 83%, after the implementation of BALA.The visuals that cover the walls of this school, is the missing piece to this social cause that architecture is destined to serve.

What if a forgotten generation could re-live the small yet significant moments in life? Shanthidham in its entirety provides solace to the residents, thereby contributing to the solution for elderly abuse.

As the narratives unfold, architecture emerges as a social responsibility across ages in the society. We propose to take you through the circle of life, from an innocent girl learning the world to a man reflecting upon it, both who found promise in the social art of architecture.

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The corridors that help Kanika learn geography.
The corridors that help Kanika learn geography.
Pathways leading to the prayer hall, a gathering space that Karthik and many others find solace in.
Pathways leading to the prayer hall, a gathering space that Karthik and many others find solace in.
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