The Mahindra United World College of India is one of ten campuses worldwide under the United World Colleges banner that offer an International Baccalaureate two-year diploma, which is accepted for admission into universities around the globe. The college houses about two hundred students and twenty-five faculty members on a residential campus for a nine-month academic year. It is a self-sufficient campus, located 40 kilometers to the west of Pune, a city which in turn is about 100 kilometers southeast of Mumbai, the commercial capital of India. The campus plan is divided into an academic area and a residential 'village'. The whole campus is totally pedestrianized. All the college buildings are constructed of local stone, with integrated gardens and courtyards to give the feeling of a village. Student and faculty residences are based on traditional Indian design. Each cottage, which has its own verandah and courtyard, accommodates eight students.
The layout is divided into an academic area and a residential 'village', with a solely pedestrianized system within the entire campus. The learning area is centered on the academic quadrangle that is composed of classrooms, faculty rooms and thoroughfares. One enters the campus through an entrance gate, the Mahadwara, which acts as a 'guard' and frames an ancient wooden door and delineates a thoroughfare along the auspicious north-south axis, which intersects the east-west axis. Once inside the entrance there is a world of meandering stone walkways which move through the reception area and along the cardinal axis, along which administration, the science center, the amphitheatre and the multi-purpose hall are laid out. The catering center, library and art centre are located on the east-west axis, welcoming the sunrise, framing sunsets and catching the daily progress of shadows. A number of connecting devices such as ramps, stone-box seats, referred to locally as ottas, and steps, also referred to as kund, are drawn from the traditional Indian repertoire and encourage informal meetings and interaction.
Within the residential clusters, each student has his or her own small domain - an individual sleeping and study area. Four such areas occupied by students from four different countries comprise a room and two such rooms form a house. Eight students have to manage a small cottage composed of an entrance, verandah, boxroom, wet core and two sleep-work rooms, all surrounding an enclosed courtyard, like the small wadas or traditional courtyard houses of the region. The courtyard with its verandah is the social and spatial focus of each house.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture