At Pokhrama, the ethos of environmental sustainability is translated to the way we build, live, learn, work and play—in harmony with the natural environment.

In December 2020, Pokhrama Foundation acquired 7 acres of land to build a spacious, simple, and state-of-the-art campus for its School. We worked with the eminent architect Varun Kohli (New York City) and the architectural firm, AEON (Noida, India) to create an architectural and design blueprint for the school campus with the aim to create a zero-footprint campus.

To the extent possible the building and campus of PFA have been envisioned as self-reliant especially for energy, water and waste in an environmentally sustainable way. In the absence of any municipal sewer system, the campus is deploying ‘living machines’ or natural bio-filtration systems to treat solid waste.

The existing rainwater collection pond on the campus site that has in the past served farmers on this land, will continue to harvest rainwater in the monsoon season and retain it for the drier months. All storm water collected on the site will be channeled to the rainwater pond via naturally designed bio-swales. The water will then be used for irrigation on site.

The academic block incorporates a number of outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces that act as an extension of the formal learning spaces. These spaces, such as the small patches of green attached to the little kids’ classrooms, allow for teaching and playing to occur in natural settings.

Pokhrama’s master-plan and individual buildings embrace the adjacent environment, often inviting it in and blurring the lines between built and natural environment. While the academic buildings are designed to be carbon neutral, the buildings are also designed to provide thermal and visual comfort for its students, teachers and staff. PFA’s Academic Block structure is designed with passive elements where natural daylight and ventilation enhance the quality of classrooms while minimizing energy use. Using brick from a local kiln, the rat-trap bond exterior walls with cavity create an insulated envelope. The sloped roof of the building will house solar panels to generate enough electricity to power all needs of the academic block.

In close proximity to the natural environment, these special and environmental elements act as pedagogical instruments. Seasonal plants have been chosen for planting in the planter beds that meander through the circulation spaces of the building. The kids will get to see different plants growing in different seasons. Indeed, all through the campus, a rich variety of plants and trees, nearly five hundred of them in the first phase, will offer respite from dust, shade, myriad teaching/learning opportunities and hopefully great joy in a natural setting!

The construction of the campus is taking place in two stages. In the first, ongoing stage (until December 2022) we are building the Junior Block and a single tower of the teachers’ accommodation. After December 2022, we will build the Senior Block and complete the rest of the teachers’ flats.

Through curriculum and Saturday club activities we introduce and sensitize our children on our environmental footprint, waste management and rain water harvesting. We encourage our children to learn the ways of promoting organic agriculture.