Laurence Wilfred “Laurie” Baker (March 2, 1917 – April 1, 2007) was an award-winning British-born Indian architect, renowned for his initiatives in cost-effective energy-efficient architecture and for his unique space utilization and a simple but beautiful aesthetic sensibility. He came to India in 1945 as a missionary aid worker and since then lived and worked in India for over 50 long years.
When he began the project, the school was based on the side of a hill and was under 10 acres. The design Baker came up with completely eschewed then prevailing ideas about institutional design. Making the best of the craggy site and its unusual elevations, he created a series of brick-finished buildings, interconnected by pathways running between and around the trees of the site. Walking through the school when it is filled with kids, the space has a wonderful botanical garden-like atmosphere. And when it is empty, the hilltop is spiritual, the buildings standing nobly on either side, still beautiful after all these years. Mrs. Sneha Zachariah, the former Vice Principal of the school, which is now called Pallikoodam, says Baker never intended for the buildings to survive beyond 30 years. But the school administration has always valued the design of the school, ensured it is well-maintained and that newer buildings follow the format of the original designs. And so, Baker’s designs have survived more than fifty monsoons, and still works beautifully.