Student Author(s)

Taylor Mills

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Maria Claudia Andre, Modern Languages

Document Type


Event Date



Literary giant Rabindranath Tagore shaped both his homeland of India and the world with his poetry, art, music, and philosophy during his lifetime of 1861-1941. His legacy continues to influence modern society as young writers observe his words, philosophers observe his life, and Indians observe his face on street corners and hear his music in their ears. Perhaps his greatest contribution, however, is carved into walls and plaster, eventually etching themselves into the minds of students. Tagore had deep convictions about the marriage between nature and education; these convictions took root in the foundation of his school in Santiniketan. Because nature was essential for introspection, understanding, and learning, Tagore developed concrete notions of how architecture should lend itself to nature, and therefore to education. This summer I was funded to visit Jorasanko in Calcutta, FLAME University in Pune, and Shantiniketan in West Bengal, India, with Professor Maria Claudia Andre. Here I encountered Tagore’s philosophies carved into the buildings that surrounded his life. Drawing from my experiences in India, as well as investigating Tagore’s philosophies of education, space, and nature through works like Samit Das’s Architecture of Santiniketan, my research explores Tagore’s ideas of architecture for education, as well as his influences on modern institutions in India today, pursuing an answer to the question: how does physical space influence learning?


This work was supported by a Jacob E. Nyenhuis Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Grant.