How entrepreneurs can use design to start a school that supports their vision

For entrepreneurs who want to learn how to start a school, thinking about the campus is as vital as the learning model and curriculum.

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_ Many entrepreneurs turn to education to make an impact on the world.
_ Along with philosophy and curriculum, school design is an essential ingredient.
_ Riverbend School, in India, can serve as a template that other visionaries can follow.

Want to start a school? Where do you start?

If this sounds like you, you most likely have a vision for the kind of school you want to start. And you probably also have an idea of what learning model you’ll implement, what kind of classes you’ll offer, and roughly how many students you want to serve.

But have you thought about what kind of school design will support all those ideas?

This was Kurani’s mission when designing Riverbend School, in India, and it can serve as a model for any entrepreneur who wants to make a positive impact on the world through education.

At Riverbend, no building rises taller than two stories, in order to create a village-like feel.

Riverbend has been called “the school for happiness,” because it doesn’t focus on grades, but student well-being. Entrepreneur Vivek Reddy, the school’s co-founder, began with this vision for the student experience.

We wanted students to “start from a base of feeling good and making smart, healthy, stress-free choices, and achievements and success will surely follow,” Reddy told Thrive Global.

But he and his team struggled to picture the campus that could make that experience come alive. That’s where Kurani came in.

Riverbend’s curved walls and windows buck the tradition of straight lines and sharp edges.

The school’s resulting campus is designed to increase student happiness by helping them slow down and feel like they’re a part of a community. For example, all over campus are plazas and pavilions for students to hang out, a lake with a meditation deck, and meandering pathways so there’s no feeling of rushing anywhere.

With typical schools, “you end up with a lot of right angles, straight lines, the shortest path from A to B, because you’re aiming for efficiency,” said Danish Kurani, the founder of Kurani. “And that can really be a happiness killer.”

Across the school, dozens of design elements create a sense of belonging and mindful, healthy living. Through intentional, research-backed design, Riverbend has become the physical embodiment of an entrepreneurial vision.

Students can use the lakeside meditation deck to find calm and restore energy.

As an entrepreneur, when you think about the philosophy for your school, it’s critical to consider if your school’s design will realize it.

At Riverbend, the vision was a place where student wellness and happiness counted for more than grades—and the campus reflects that. Maybe you want a school that encourages risk taking, or a global mindset, or one where students learn by doing.

Whatever shakeup you want to see in education, you’re more likely to achieve it if your space is aligned.

Think of it like this. Your pedagogy and curriculum are the software. And the physical environment is the hardware they’ll run on. For your software to work well, you need the right hardware.

Ready to start a non-traditional school of your own? Contact us today. Let’s discuss your project.