The non profit foundation, Kids with Cameras wanted to found a school for the disenfranchised children of the Calcutta brothels. Following the success of the award-winning documentary "Born into Brothels," Kids with Cameras founder Zana Briski mounted a campaign to provide a combined educational and residential facility for the children whose lives were touched by the workshops and for children like them. Seven teams of students from Montana State University worked on initial design concepts for the organization. After a mid-term review teams refined their ideas for a final presentation to the Kids With Cameras staff in April 2005. Of the seven designs, one scheme was selected for the organization to pursue.
The design for the School of Leadership and Arts has taken an organic form, utilizing the curves of the lotus flower. This theory has allowed many
of the spaces to be open and flow from interior to exterior with bright splashes of color to develop and enhance the creative mind. For the safety
and protection of the children, there exists an intricate relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, which are not meant to confine, but open
and challenge each child’s mind. An extensive play of courtyards and canopies create a transition of quiet places between the interior and exterior,
providing the utmost room to breathe.
The landscaping of the site considers many aspects including safety and freedom of movement integrated with tranquil places to provide a peaceful
oasis coalesced with outdoor learning spaces. Characteristics of the site include a lotus pond, exterior gallery and classroom spaces, orchard and
gardens, playground, playing field, and other intuitively designed landscaping features that promote freedom and open-mindedness.
In order to implement an off the grid system solar panels, water collection, and green rooftops have been implemented. Building materials include;
bamboo, kota stone (lime stone), mud-brick, concrete, tile, and embossed and painted walls. Each structure and every square foot has been
individually designed to achieve a creative flow of energy, and invoke a sense of ownership and community, while promoting leadership and