Register: OCT/01/2017, Submit: OCT/01/2017, Eligibility: Students Category – all years of undergraduate; Academician Category – professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, visiting faculty andteaching assistants, individually, groups; Exclusive Young Architect Category – all years of graduate (M. Arch/M.S. Arch), young architects who have finished undergraduate course in or after June 2015, Fee: Free, Awards: Student Category: 1st Place 100,000 INR (Indian rupee) (about 1,560 USD), 2nd Place 70,000 INR (about 1,090 USD), 3rd Place 50,000 INR (about 780 USD), Citations – 4 Certificates; Academician Category: 1st Place 25,000 INR (about 390 USD), 2nd Place 15,000 INR (about 235 USD), 3rd Place 10,000 INR (about 155 USD), Citations – 2 Certificates; Exclusive Young Architect Category: Citations – 5 Certificates
Historically we are able to trace human settlements that either integrated or coexisted peacefully with nature. The architecture of the river valley civilizations was a direct result of the yearly flooding cycle and how it was negotiated for sustenance and livelihood by its inhabitants. Likewise, Old Iranian cities like Isfahan & Shiraz, coastal towns of Kilwa in Tanzania and Teotenago in Mexico, all explored the city-nature relationship. At the level of buildings, we have effectively negotiated the climate and terrain to innovate systems that have had minimal impact on environment by leveraging natural phenomena. Around the world, the elements such as thick walls, Jalis, wind towers and Courtyards have been using temperature difference and wind-directions to optimize the air flow and provide passive cooling for the inhabitants.
From the late 18th century, growth of industry led to the birth of the modern city. For the first time, rapid development and urbanisation were witnessed around the world; as a large number of migrants moved from rural communities to the new cities in search of opportunity. Natural resources such as coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels were employed to accelerate this process; till date 80% of the world’s energy needs are met by burning fossil fuels. This prevalent use of fossil fuels in recent years, has raised widespread concerns about pollution and long-term impact on the environment.
It is only in the 20th Century that various experiments and attempts began to emerge in a few parts of the world to address concerns over deteriorating environmental conditions and renew the relationship of man with nature. Letchworth (1903), laid out by Raymond Unwin was a direct manifestation of Sir Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the Garden City. The town of Arcosanti, designed by Paolo Soleri explored the concept of arcology, which combines architecture and ecology. Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, is an example where technology is being used to reimagine high speed transportation, thereby minimizing dependence on fossil fuels.
Sonam Wangchuk’s Ice Stupas are a fine example where science and innovation are used to imitate natural systems and negotiate with climatic conditions to create artificial glaciers during the winters, which melt to provide water to carry out farming and other daily activities during summers in the mountain town of Ladakh, India. The mountain community has now come together to develop an institution that allows a space for conceptualising such ideas. One can also look at the example of the restoration of Timba quarry in Gujarat, India, where an ecosystem has been slowly revitalised to create a self-sustaining natural park by introducing flora and fauna into a barren region.
Each of these examples, are specific cases in which natural systems and mechanisms have been employed as ‘engines for development’. However, to have far reaching effect on the global human settlement a paradigm shift is required.
Kavieh Samiei in his essay, “Architecture and Urban Ecosystems: From Segregation to Integration” argues that “cities should be an extension of our natural environment. The health of biodiversity affects you. And what you do affects biodiversity. Everything we do either uses natural resources or returns them as waste.” The question this poses to us, as architects and designers is if we can base our innovations and visions of ‘healthy human communities’ on a co-existent relationship between natural entities and development?; And can these visions, then be actions and models that are more scalable, panoramic and trans-disciplinary in nature?
ACA’s 5th International Design Competition therefore wishes to investigate various forms in which this co-existence manifests itself. Must we strive towards creating a symbiotic relationship with our environment? Should we mimic the systems available in nature to generate adaptable outcomes? Or is there a possibility to invent a completely new approach altogether to inhabit nature?
THE DESIGN CHALLENGE
The Competition invites the architectural fraternity of students and academics to Design an ‘Everyday Institution’ – ranging from built form and landscape to urban renewal and systems – that responds to the city, town or country it belongs to, where communities led by dreamers, rebels, wanderers and mad scientists within us, come together to rethink, innovate and implement new ways of creating spaces and demonstrate a ground for experimentation for the future of communities that inhabit nature harmoniously.
STUDENT CATEGORY & EXCLUSIVE YOUNG ARCHITECT CATEGORY
Participants shall intervene on a site in the urban/rural and geographical context of their choice.
The proposed design intervention could be ranging from built form and landscape to urban renewal and systems. As long as the chosen intervention fits the scope of the brief, the participants are encouraged to think on multiple scales.
A unique standpoint based on an interpretation of the brief in relationship to the writer’s micro context.