CetraRuddy, the award-winning global architecture and interior design firm, has announced its selection to design a new, 2.500-student school campus for grade 1 through 12 in Kozhikode (Calicut), India, for The Choice School. This is the second of three large master plans with new school buildings in the region for CetraRuddy and the independent education leader. The first, a new campus for primary- and secondary-school students in Thiruvalla, also in the South India state of Kerala, opened its first buildings to students in 2016. In addition, CetraRuddy has been commissioned to design the renovation an existing campus owned by The Choice School.
These award-winning educational communities have earned wide acclaim for both the innovative pedagogical and community approach envisaged by founder and entrepreneur Jose “JT” Thomas, as well as for their progressive architecture and effective learning environments. The Thiruvalla campus, for example, has won nine design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State, World Architecture News, Architizer’s A+ Award, and the Society of American Registered Architects. The facilities reflect several new trends in international education, including use of both individual and group learning areas, outdoor classrooms, and green building design. The schools are also designed to reflect the Choice Schools belief that “Learning Happens Everywhere.”
This is the fourth commission in India for CetraRuddy and their second school project there, while the firm has been active in designing educational projects for K-12 and higher education institutions in the United States for many years. The Choice School and its ambitious campus projects are the brainchild of the entrepreneur Thomas, founder of Choice Estates & Constructions Ltd., who in 1990 founded The Choice School in Tripunithura, Cochin. The schools now rank among the country's best educational institutions.
“We are very pleased to be involved in an educational initiative that has the potential to boost interest in innovative pedagogies and learning environments in India,” says Nancy J. Ruddy, cofounder of CetraRuddy. “Jose Thomas and his team have shown that expanded educational opportunities and high-performance learning environments can contribute to the continued growth of the region’s youth and serve as a positive impact for the entire community.”
The scale of the Calicut campus, which is similar to that of the Thiruvalla complex, presents a significant milestone for both CetraRuddy and the philanthropic organization The Choice School, who have together created a new prototype for primary and secondary education in India focused on the pursuit of meaningful, inclusive education. Founded nearly 30 years ago, today The Choice School organization has evolved into an institution that delivers its promise of excellence in education to over 2,500 students and is still growing. With exceptional design and constant upgrades, the school offers an inviting atmosphere of exploration and guidance that is conducive to learning and adopting innovative pedagogical skills.
The Choice School currently employs more than 400 highly trained and motivated staff members. A co-ed institution offering Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum, which is offered in 24 countries globally, also enriches student experience with an array of curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. The school is also well known for offering inclusive education.
“Our design for each campus supports the school’s philosophy of the progression of learning and prepares students to be global citizens of the world,” says Theresa Genovese, AIA, LEED AP, a principal with CetraRuddy. “The architecture welcomes the community through shared programs, which provide an academic hub that inspires and encourages families and children to take an active role in their education.”
This major international commission further expands CetraRuddy’s cultural and educational portfolio. Other recent institutional projects by the firm include the Fotografiska museum in New York, new projects for Columbia University and New York University, an adaptation of the historic Bancroft Hall at Teacher’s College, renovations for major independent schools in New York City, and the acclaimed Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan.
CetraRuddy was commissioned for the first of the new schools in India in early 2015, and the firm has released initial images of the Calicut campus design. The firm says the school will open in stages, and its site has been under construction since early 2018.
For the new school, CetraRuddy will serve as design architect, providing programming, site evaluation, master planning and concept design with a team including executive architect SPACE A.R.T in Calicut.