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Raising Up a Community Center

Building on the success of Desert Dolphin Skatepark, we aim to continue to have a social impact on the children of Khempur by building a multi-purpose community centre that will serve as a site for exercise, education and exploration.

Combining several facilities and amenities that are out of reach to children in rural India, this centre will comprise a library and computer centre, workshop spaces, community kitchens, vegetable gardens as well as public toilets, among other facilities.

Designed by the Mumbai and Amsterdam-based architects Rohan Varma and Aleksandra Daniłoś, the community centre takes inspiration from local building traditions as well as contemporary architecture to propose a centre that is at once both local and global, traditional yet modern.

Imagined less as a building and more as a campus, the community centre takes the form of a meandering strip that encircles the skatepark and re-imagines it as an urban living room for the children of Khempur. Along this strip, numerous functions and activities take place that blurs the distinction between what is public and private.

At the southern entrance, the strip creates a public threshold shaped in the form of a typical darwaza (entry porch) accompanied by an otla – a traditional element found throughout Rajasthan’s vernacular architecture that greets visitors and passers-by and offers them places to sit and socialize. Further inside, the wall takes on many shapes and functions – sometimes becoming an arcade of playful shapes that echoes the design of the skatepark and sometimes a small amphitheater for public functions. Throughout the centre, the building mass is punctuated with smaller courtyards and patios that help create a micro-climate which reduces the need for artificial lighting and cooling. All indoor spaces allow for indirect light to enter through folding doors that open to these courtyards and patios. Through this intelligent use of space, the relatively modest-sized interior rooms are augmented by semi-open and open-to-sky spaces that allow for a multitude of activities to take place throughout the day.

With sustainability at the core of the design, the proposed community centre at Desert Dolphin Skatepark is more than just a building. It is imagined as an instrument for development – a catalyst for change that through its design and construction allows for new ways of learning and playing.


If you like what we are doing and want to support the building of this community centre, please make a tax deductible donation.

Together we can transform a generation of children by building community projects and programs that impact their development and education!


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