Picture of a construction site from the entrance gate. 3-story building in the background

I visited the site a few days ago and for the first time it really struck me: This is BIG. And we are very small. Because given all the dreams we have for this place, and how little experience we have with building anything, let alone a 50,000-square-foot centre of excellence, it’s daunting. That’s where the experts come in.


Group of adults pose in a line. Most are young and Indian; 3 women and four men plus one older white woman.

Cushman & Wakefield, our knowledge partner in this enterprise, is such an unusual company. Not satisfied with just doing the project management pro-bono and making a large cash donation, their staff also participated in our recent Buy-A-Brick campaign, raising over five lakhs in just a few short days.

But that’s not all. Last week, their crackerjack team of architects and designers decided to see how they could help. Seven of them – from Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore – flew in yesterday to see firsthand what we do and how we do it.

We wanted them to see how things really are, so the tour we gave them omitted nothing: the crowding, the chaos, the lack of parking spots for wheelchairs and the non-existent storage options for toys, teaching materials and kids’ school bags. Before setting out, they had asked about lighting, flooring and color palettes and at the end of the tour they asked urgently about acoustics! (It’s one of our biggest concerns too. 200 children in small classrooms are definitely not quiet.)

Funny picture of a group of adults peeking into a classroom of children engaged in a fun activity

Designers are problem-solvers by nature. As human beings, they may feel overwhelmed by the completely new situation of being surrounded by throngs of disabled children, but as professionals they quickly pull themselves together and get down to the situation in front of them: What materials will reduce sound? How do we plan both for children who may be over-stimulated and those who actually need the stimulation? How to accommodate teachers’ need for learning materials close at hand with kids’ needs for a clutter-free environment? We could actually see the wheels turning in their heads as they played with options and thought about possibilities.

Building a building this large and this important is a privilege we can’t afford to get wrong. We know how lucky we are to be here at all. To be here supported by friends like the ones we have at Cushman & Wakefield makes us feel like we were born to do this.

Showing 4 comments
  • Rupa Bishnoi

    Getting down to the nitty gritty of optimum and productive utilisation of the space inside requires as much design and planning as the structure.

    • Jo

      So true, Rupa! I find I am dreaming about it all now – there’s so much to learn.

  • Sree

    Everytime time you comment on how lucky YOU are to get people involved in any Latika project, I just smile and think how lucky those people are to get such an opportunity!!


    • Jo

      Happy Sree! You have no idea how lucky we felt having YOU around!

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