Case Design – A School in the Making

Book published by Archizoom
Text: Ellen E. Donnelly
Photographic essay: Ariel Huber
Graphic design: Giorgio Pesce, Atelier Poisson
Interviews with collaborators of Avasara Academy

Settled into the valley slope above the small village of Lavale, Avasara Academy is a residential school for young women in western India and is still a work in process. With thoughtful attention to both physical and social environments, the school is evolving through a design-build process focused on inclusion and engagement.

A diverse group of builders, designers, farmers, artists, craftsmen and engineers has been involved in making the school, showing the potential and possibilities of an architectural practice based on collaboration and empathy.

About Case Design

“While many architects hold tightly to the primacy of drawing, Case Design’s process flattens the hierarchy of drawing-over-constructing and instead foregrounds the importance of an open-ended design process highly dependent on continual dialogue between the architects, craftsmen, clients and other design collaborators.” Ellen E. Donnelly



Case Design develops a kind of architectural syncretism that pragmatically borrows from vernacular as well as modern architecture, and from local know-how as well as international expertise. The method encompasses what the essence of all architecture should be. It relates to the Vitruvian principle of architecture as craftsmanship and science, which depends on many disciplines and apprenticeships carried out in other arts and techniques. It also follows modern functionalist conventions: concrete columns and slabs that bear the structural load allow for a “plan libre” with unrestrained internal use and a thin skin façade independent of the structure. The Corbusian Dom-Ino model was the most affordable solution to let the architecture express itself.

To borrow from Charles Darwin’s description of how life evolved on earth, Case Design has let “mutual affinities” and “hybridism” unfold during the construction, generating vital diversity and activities. The photographic essay and interviews published here present buildings in construction and spaces that are already actively used by their inhabitants. Each page of this book wishes to witness the flourishing effervescence of life happening on Avasara campus. This is the telling of an essential story of architecture.

Cyril Veillon, director of Archizoom