A Carnivalesque Communion: ZoNASA 2k15
One of the most important forums for under-graduate students of Architecture and Planning is the National Association of Students of Architecture, India. This organization came into being on 13th September, 1957 with seven member colleges and has rapidly grown into six distinct zones, consisting of a total number of 380 colleges. Their annual zonal convention presents a platform for members and students of that particular zone to meet, interact and compete for different events.
The Department of Planning and Architecture of NITR was started only three years ago, and is steadily growing into a force to reckon with. It falls under the Zone 4, which comprises of another 25 member and 4 observer colleges. The observer colleges earn their memberships after they have maintained their observer statuses for two years, at least and participated as well as performed significantly in other NASA and ZoNASAs. NITR had participated in the ZoNASA 2014 that was conducted in NIT Patna; and attempted to participate in the NASA organized in Chennai, however unfortunately due to some glitches in the paperwork, that attempt was not entirely successful. The current brave venture that they took upon themselves, thus aggravated their chances at earning themselves a member college status, after the expiration of two years as an observer, only.
The theme for ZoNASA 2k15, conducted by NITR was Archismat - Carpe in Ignis. This theme literally translates into “seize the fire” and hints at the undeniable flames of passion and spirit that burns bright in each of our hearts. Students were encouraged to embrace the mystic element of fire and allow it to illuminate the darkest corners of their mind, while cleansing all their impurities and turning into ashes all the obstacles that adorn their way! The theme touched lightly on those creative visions that lay dormant in our subconscious beings, our vigor and determination for accomplishment and success and the pregnant thoughts that awaited the light of enlightenment to bloom and burst forth.
The purpose of this entire event was to inspire all participants to strive for perfection, to awaken their inner selves and to use the light of their souls to shine forth without any limelight or circumstantial ease – based truly on their own stamina, charisma and efforts! Team MM gives you an insight into this wide plethora of events – formal, informal and fun, along with workshops and cultural programs that had the students of NITR as well as all participants from outside captivated! Moreover, such a celebration of life, enthusiasm and brilliance deserves not only due credit but also an eye for appreciation of the same.
The ball was set to roll on the evening of 13th October with the commencement of the inauguration ceremony at 6:30 PM at Dilip Tirkey Stadium. The event kicked off with a short welcome speech by the student Convener Vivek and the guests of the evening, Prof S.K Sarangi, Ankhi Bannerjee (Head of Department of Planning and Architecture) and Arjun Mukerji (Professor-In-Charge). The event was graced by the presence of Karan Grover, the Green Architect, who delivered a keynote talk which was well received by the audience.
Channelling the energized evening was the lilting music from Heartbeats and Euphony which managed to keep the audience charged up with their melodious numbers. The energy of the crowd rose up several notches with the mesmerizing performance by the Mavericks (the dance club of NITR). These enthralling performances marked a great start to a 4-day long event.
With the excitement-filled inaugural night still lingering in their minds, the young to-be-architects of the nation were greeted by our institute, on the second day with fun-filled events and enlightening workshops. The day started a bit late for all the participants, however keeping them busy throughout the day were workshops in SAC and the Department at Planning and Architecture and fun events at TIIR. Events like ‘Pehchan Kaun’, which had its participants blindfolded and identify things by touching, and ‘Striker’, which challenged people, with the number of bananas they could eat in a minute, grabbed immediate attention. ‘Syzygy’ had its participants paint things which have a literal or a metaphorical contrast, with a suitable write-up, in pairs and ‘Pastiche’ was all about making a collage with a theme, set up by the organizers. ‘Letterach’, was a single delegate event, which tested their talent in calligraphy, with the word ‘architecture’ and a prize was announced to those who could write it in an entirely unique font and style. ‘Jumbo-pull’ was an event with a head band and a pendulum being used to direct a ball towards a hole.
Meanwhile, the workshops at SAC and the Department of Architecture, had the delegates improve their creativity in various dimensions. The Ceramic art pottery, by Mr.Somnath Raha, marked a good start for the day where clay modelling and its applications in ceramic, were professed.
The second half of the day had the fun events boosting up participants’ energies. ‘La Tour’ had the participants compete in pairs, for building a structure with ice-cream sticks with high stability and considerable height. Similar to this, was ‘Ikke ka Khel’, in which participants used cards instead. ‘Clayton’ was a clay competition, which had its participants mould clay and make models. Other events like ‘Gillas mein gubbara’ and ‘Let me take a selfie’ had the participants in full mood for fun and enjoyment and went up to the evening. ‘Fine leg’, a cricket based football game, had onlookers cheering, as participants in numbers of 5 fielded and bowled the football, in place of the regular cricket ball.
‘The contemporary dance’ workshop conducted by Prof. Siddharth Mohanty of NIFT, Bhubaneshwar, had the delegates groove to the tunes of a variety of music, as they learnt some of the finest moves from the elite guest. The other workshops which were quite unique in their domain were, Main Design-1, which was a 12-hour long event and Design 30, a 30-hour long event, both including solving of design problems by the delegates, and submitting them in the stipulated time. ‘Deciphering architecture’ by square consultancy, was all about designing a renowned building in a unique and feasible way.
As the workshops came to an end, ‘Convention trophy’, a competition involving presentations on a given theme, had delegates participating actively. A quiz competition, called ‘Archumen’, hosted by Gita Balakrishnan, of Ethos, had the participants enthusiastically answer the tricky questions thrown at them. The Rajendra Mishra Hall gained charm as all the participants put up their academic work as an exhibition, depicting their years of hard work, which was called ‘Reuben’s Trophy’. The jury members for this event comprised of Miss Sanghamitra Basu and Prof Basudutta Sarkar.
As the night fell, the much awaited ‘choreo-night’ picked up pace and set the dance floor on fire at the Dilip Tirkey Stadium. Judged by Prof. Siddharth Mohanty and Prof. Arjun Mukerji of NITR, the competition saw 26 teams performing based on the theme ‘Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya’, which translates to ‘The quest of light in darkness’, using a variety of props and costumes. Marking the end to the evening was a thank you note to all the participants and organizing committee by the judges for their immense hard work and perseverance, which made this day a success.
The third day of Zonasa 2k15, saw a continuation of the previous day. Major events such as Design 30 and Main Design (Part I) was extended to the afternoon of 15th October. The problem statement for Main Design 1 was to design a shopping complex at Salt Lake City in Kolkata. Since Design 30 was an event that was 30 hours long, without any breaks in between, there were certain compromises made to the initial rules – teams were supposed to comprise of five members, each. However, a lot of teams broke this rule and had other members helping them out – as a result, there sheets were confiscated and they were made to halt for 30 minutes!
One of the formal events, Product Design had to be scrapped at the last minute because of certain technical difficulties. The event statement required the participants to design a furniture line for a bedroom. This was to be done using any software of their choice, and the final submission would therefore be in the form of a PDF file. Many students were unaware of this and had come unequipped with laptops, and were found to be unprepared for such a digital submission. Ultimately, despite having taken the submissions the event had to be cancelled because certain participants objected to it.
The Convention Trophy as well as the Journalism Trophy was given out on this day, both the problem statements for which were given well in advance, and the submission was done at the time of registration. For the Convention Trophy, participants had to identify and select a particular Indian heritage monument or precinct in an urban or peri-urban area, preferably from their own region, and prepare urban design guidelines for the regulated area associated with the chosen site, with a view to suitably respect and preserve the qualities of the setting while allowing for urban development. For the Journalism Trophy, participants were required to submit a word document containing an article describing the details of any architecturally interesting or noteworthy building of their choice. Miss Anuradha Pathak gave a guest lecture on “Hanging thoughts”. A product design workshop was also organized by Abhijit Bairagi who is currently working at Microsoft.
The Fashion Show’s problem statement had also been given to all teams well in advance. They were supposed to present an Autumn-Winter collection, based on the theme 'Solaris'. The jury for this event comprised of Professor Arjun Mukerji from our institution and Siddharth Mohanty, from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bhubaneshwar.
On 16th October the formal events included Landscape design, Interior design and Main design 2. The problem statement for the landscape design was to design a roof terrace garden for a residence. And in the interior design competition, the participants had to design the interior of a restaurant at Jamshedpur. 26 teams participated in the event with three participants in each team. These events had the submission in sheets whereas main design 2 had a digital submission. In the afternoon slot a workshop was held at BBA by Design Mafia, which is an association of graduate architecture students. The workshop was on sustainable architecture that focused on recycling waste and utilizing it in architecture building. An AutoCAD workshop was also organized in the Department of Planning and Architecture by Prof. Vineet Kumar. In the evening the valedictory ceremony was organized where awards were given to the winners of individual events. It was then followed by the energizing performance of the Underground Authority. The apostles of the Indian rock scene rocked the stage of NIT-R with their hard-hitting upbeat performance, creating a headbanger’s utopia. At the end, the overall award for the best college was awarded to Piloo Mody College of Architecture, Cuttack, the consecutive winner for five years.
Thus an entire institute of stunned spectators and over 1200 contented guests, watched as the efforts of about 71 persevering students bore great fruit. Truly their hard work and dedication, forged by the fire of unforeseen circumstances and unavoidable events had transformed them into the children of sun and specks of stardust: Archismats!
While some would call this attempt as premature, and undermine their bravery as falsehood, there is no denying that the Department of Planning and Architecture of NITR has not only risen to the occasion and outdone the challenge that was put forth – but made a name for themselves in the national scenario and put our institute on the architectural radar. Many awe-struck guests admitted that despite them having a Department of Architecture for almost the same or even a longer period, they hadn’t yet arranged for a ZoNASA yet.
Without a doubt, the Department of Planning of Architecture deserves more than a pat on the back or a word of appreciation – they deserve a standing ovation for having conducted an event on such a large scale, successfully, winning the hearts of all participants and surpassing the expectations of everyone else!