A New York-based architect, Diana Kellogg, built a school for girls in the mystic deserts of Jaisalmer, India. Breaking barriers between the gaps of geography, culture, and language, we welcome you to the sustainable Rajkumari Ratnavati girls school.
This sustainable project was initiated by the international non-profit organization CITTA and operated by India’s arm, it is located near the village of Kanoi, Jaisalmer.
The Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School is the first building in a complex of three, collectively called the Gyaan Centre, which will house a women’s cooperative as well as a textile museum that is still to come. This school was made for 400 girls, from kindergarten to class 10, and it’s set to open early next year.
The Challenges behind the Project
AD India, when developing this journalistic piece, stated that they exchange continuous emails with Diana, which faced many challenges because the building of this sustainable school happened during a world pandemic. The pandemic was not the only difficulty. Diana also faced language barriers and the geographic distance between New York and India. But in all of that, she also found little wins that made her keep going, “I finally found carpenters in Kanoi, a father and son who do amazing woodwork. I want to use the charpai for the benches.”
In order to make the school sustainable, Diana also count on the help of other people to help install Solar Panels, “It has been a challenge to find solar panels. Finally, Genus Innovation, a Jaipur-based company, came on board and offered to build my dream. We installed them like a canopy on the roof, the metal armature works as kind of an old fashion jungle gym with seesaws, swings, monkey bars”.
After 25 years of experience, where most of her work was dedicated to luxury projects, Diana wanted to make a difference and affect a larger audience of people and this sustainable school was the right project to do so. “The school came at a time in my life when I was looking for it the most. I wanted my work to affect a larger audience, to have a sense of nurturing, comfort and healing.”
“‘Educate a boy and you educate an individual. Educate a girl and you educate a community.’ I read it somewhere in India”Diana Kellogg