Tagore’s Concepts of Space and Santiniketan

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Tagore’s ideas about space and architecture occupy a vast area and it is probably difficult to evoke this through just a few visuals and a limited space. For him, architecture was not limited to a structure within a man-made space. It was integrated with life, nature and education. When he speaks of a life without constraints, one has to realize that he means life which blends with Nature. In his early school days in a regular school in Kolkata, he could not take the strict discipline and the imprisonment within concrete walls.  We can see his expression of these thoughts in his essays in Jiban Smriti. During his stay in their estate of Selaidaha, now in Bangladesh, his proximity to Nature deepened his thoughts about living spaces melding with nature. Later he tried to execute his ideas in Santiniketan, his ashram and school, where he showed in a practical form the links that existed between life, nature and education. An extraordinarily talented, self-taught team executed Tagore’s dreams and philosophy about space into practical reality in the ashram. It was a great beginning but unfortunately, it did not extend much further after he died.

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