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Calicut pushing boundaries and rising to be a design metropolis

Calicut pushing boundaries and rising to be a design metropolis

The biggest architectural festival in the country drew 2500 delegations, 200 guests, 10000 footfall, and 350 volunteers.

A mesmerizing display of splendor abounded at Sarovaram biopark and Calicut Trade Centre along the Canoly Canal stretch for three days. Three days of precision programmed events curated to provoke your grey cells to think, think and think. Three days of cultural extravaganza. Three days of sumptuous local delicacies. Three days of yatra, viewing responses to architects- governance- public engagement, heritage marvels and sketching bliss. Three days of fun, frolic, and local shopping. Three days of the warmest hospitality. What more can a festival be. The CROSSROADS- Young Architects Festival, 2022 hosted by the Indian Institute of Architects, Calicut Centre under the aegis of IIA, Kerala Chapter, was all this and much more!

Formal inauguration of crossroads- young architects festival 2022

The event was formally inaugurated on the dais by lighting the lamp of enlightenment by distinguished personalities who came together on behalf of the fraternity. We had the following dignitaries invited on dais for the ceremony.

Our respected chief guest was

  • Ar.Vilas Avachat, Vice President, IIA, National
  • Ar.Leena Kumar, Joint Honourary Secretary, IIA, National
  • Ar.Sathish Mane, Joint Honourary Secretary, IIA, National
  • Ar.Divya Kush, Immediate Past President, IIA, National
  • Ar.L.Gopakumar, Chairperson, IIA, Kerala Chapter
  • Ar.Lalichan Zacharias, Past Chairperson, IIA, Kerala Chapter
  • Ar.Jabeen Zacharias, Past Chairperson, IIA, Kerala Chapter
  • Ar.Vivek P. P., Chairperson, IIA, Calicut Centre
  • Ar.Noufal C. Hashim, Convenor- YAF 2022
  • Ar.Mohammed Afnan, Joint Honourary Secretary, IIA, Calicut Centre

 

National design competition

Re-weave kozhikode: reimagining the comtrust precinct

The national design competition culminated today with amazing presentations by the nine finalists showcasing sensitive, responsive, comprehensive, all-encompassing design interventions which shall help re-weave a lost treasure back with its city and its people, without losing its identity and inherent character in what it was yesterday, what it is today and what it shall be tomorrow. The presentations threw light onto the different approaches that exist to carefully restore and revive a heritage structure in the city centre, not just making it a showcased artifact that exist among us from the past, but one that has a soul of its own, has wisdom and lineage of a heritage past and renders character and life to the present city as well.

The National design competition aspired to bring the best of young minds to tackle a design solution for the gem of a precinct in the most beautiful Kozhikode city, in God’s own country, Kerala.

Can we re-weave together a factory building and a city?

Can we re-weave our lives TODAY and buildings of YESTERDAY? Can we re-weave the life of a weaving factory?

“While the Comtrust factory and the buildings are extremely significant historically, the context is even more relevant as it is right in heart of Calicut. With the popular S. M. Street to the south- east, the Mananchira to the north- west, prominent historical buildings all around the park including the town hall, BEM school, public library, Crown theatre- the former site of the British administrative office, and the model school. Re-weave Kozhikode is a national design competition that aims to enable the stake holders of Comtrust weaving factory, to understand the possibilities of the dilapidated factories and its surrounding areas as a project with greater civic significance. Reweave Kozhikode is an attempt to ensure that our collective heritage, our past, our identity is given its due, and the opportunities that the site behold do not go wasted. Our industrial heritage is as valuable as our cultural heritage.” Narrated Ar.Aabid Raheem, Principal Architect, ar.de and Convenor, Competitions, YAF 2022, in his brief of the curation of the competition and its relevance.

The eminent jury comprised of prominent personalities as Ar. Peter Rich, Prof .K. T. Ravindran and Ar.Soumitro Gosh. The jury contemplated the competition process and the project, its potential and their different perspectives on the ideal approach for the design. In the discussion with the jury, Ar.Peter Rich, principal architect, Peter Rich Architects, South Africa, commented “The level of commitment of the entries, to how holistically looking at what was a complex problem, they didn’t just treat it as heritage, they dealt with it more holistically in a bigger context, so that it becomes something that more enabling and gives pleasure of use.” “The challenge is the idea of history and how does one negotiate between invoking of an earlier history and still become part of a new narrative where it opens itself up” said Ar.Soumitro Ghosh, principal architect, Mathew and Ghosh Architects explained. Prof. K. T. Ravindran, Urban designer, gave his thoughts on what he was looking for in the entries, the architecture as a found object, the urban connect, and how an icon of the industrial heritage of Kerala, have been recognised and the large number of historical artefacts shall be archived. He agreed “Many of the entries had met these parameters.” Jury discussion was moderated by Ar.Aabid Raheem, principal architect, ar.de and Convenor, Competitions, YAF.

We had distinguished guests from governance and people representatives witnessing these presentations and they discoursed on how this project can fruitfully be brought to reality. Honourable District Collector, Shri.Narasimhaguri T. L. Reddy, Dr.M. K. Muneer, MLA and Shri.Pradeep Kumar A., Ex-MLA, discussed that a PPP approach would be ideal for this project bringing equal stake for public as well as private parties such that the project has a sustainable way forward. This session was moderated by Ar. Vinod Cyriac, Principal Architect, Space ART, senior mentor, Crossroads-YAF 2022, who was the torch bearer in IIA, Calicut’s endeavours to bridging the gap between architecture and the people, an arduous venture that began a decade ago.

We had a curated photo exhibition with Comtrust building photographs taken by architect photographer Syam Sreesylam, at the Kerala Lalithakala Academy which lasted a whole week before the event, where entry to public was also open, so that the people of Calicut have a context of what the project is. This exhibition continued at the venue during the event.

The winners of this competition are as follows:

Commendation for 1 Lakh: Studio 4_B16 x mofussillab, Karnataka Runner up for 3 Lakhs: Urban Precinct, Karnataka Winner for 5 Lakhs: APC Associates, Trichy

Honouring Ar.N.M.Salim

50 years of architectural practice is not a meagre achievement. It is one that required a great deal of endurance, grit and commitment, passion, drive, and that youthfulness to be kept alive while the wisdom that comes with the numbers giving one more insight into the nuances of the journey. Ar. N.M.Salim was he who made being an ‘architect’ familiar with the people of Calicut. We as a fraternity look up to his success as an inspirational one, where he grew roots in stone, where the profession was unheard of, he excelled and triumphed with grace. A man who worked hard and created his own success story, as Ar.Babu Cherian, principal architect, BCA and senior mentor, Crossroads- YAF 2022, introduced him to be, he was wished all joy and love by his dear ones in the fraternity today. His family with his two sons, Aadil and Adeeb also accompanied him on stage when Ar. C.R.Raju wrapped him in the ponnada, and presented him with a memento while a short video was played giving us a glimpse of his glorious 50 years of practice.

Indian Institute of Architects Events

The event host multiple official programmes of the Indian Institute of Architects, including the official commencement of the event. Ar. L.Gopakumar, Chairperson, IIA, Kerala Chapter, gave the welcome address. Ar. C.R.Raju, President, IIA, National gave the Presidential address. The IIA Young Architect Awards were distributed. This was given by choosing a young architect from each Chapter of the IIA, and recognise them for their overall contributions to the fraternity. The IIA mobile application was unveiled and introduced. Day 01 concluded with Ar. Noufal C. Hashim, principal architect, two i architects and Convenor, Crossroads- YAF 2022, briefing the delegates on the proceedings of the event.

Colloquium and more/ sec

The two programme packed days always began by serene morning ragas live by talented artists. This opened SABHA (main stage) for several thought provoking, mind boggling, inspiring intense session’s one after the other. In the open address, IIA, Calicut centre Chairperson and principal architect, De Earth, Ar. Vivek P. P. says “Our responsibility towards the environment is aplenty in light of climate change, environmental degradation, and the growth of Artificial Intelligence.  We ought to blur the stigmatized boundaries and established hegemony through critical discourses on the nature of architecture, its future practice, and pedagogies. We ask the most pertinent question: What does architecture mean and to whom? Let Architecture transcend through deeper layers of our society than become mere objects to please the eye. Let Architecture safeguard the interest of anyone and everyone who inhabit this ‘pale blue dot’.

The theme will be resonated through two kinds of formats in the main stage, the Sabha.

While Colloquium becomes a back-and-forth conversation between the moderator and esteemed panellists who have created their niches in the field of architecture, More/Sec provides an opportunity for the panellists to express their expertise on each topic visually, in an attempt, to cover more over a fixed time of 7mts, and to echo the theme for YAF 2022 Crossroads, ARCHITECTURE FOR EVERYONE.”

Lokasamgraha addressed the YAF theme, and the discourse revolved around the idea of how to bring architectural conversation to the common man, by bringing awareness to the common man vs architects step down to empathise with society and communicate in their language. While sessions like Katha: “Art can speak, not just words”, and Vistara: “God is in the details, to enhance the experience is divine”, addressed the nuances of the design process and its impact on the user or inhabitant of the space; sessions like Shikshan: “Architecture, knowledge of form or a form of knowledge”, and Paristhiti: “The world is changing, are we?” addressed wide spectrum inquiries into architectural education and environmental responsiveness. Disha: “There are 360 degrees, why think linear”, displayed spectacles such as those of Wallmakers, Bhoomiputra, Pink studio and Kanan Modi Associates; and Sanskriti: “Art, history and heritage as tools for holistic development” conversed about challenges of integrating the same with mainstream architectural or urban development. Kala-Neeti, Vikalp and Niyam discoursed the much ambitious levels architectural practice in India aspire to achieve. Having Ar.Peter Rich and Ar.Pallinda Kannangara on stage together expecting to have a discourse on “When east meets west”, unexpectedly, in a pleasant way, turned out to be either of them marvelling at each other’s works and professional journeys. Ar.Pallinda unveiled the book: The Architecture of Peter Rich, Conversations with Africa.

Yaf Awards 2022

The Young Architects Festival Awards 2022 was distinguishably reformatted this time to commend young practices and not just projects. The format required the firms to submit multiple projects in diverse 8 categories. “A whopping 100 entries showcasing around 450 projects were received to be deliberated, discussed, evaluated, and shortlisted to 40 entries” says Ar. Sujith G. S., Convenor, YAF Awards. Each category had eminent jury panels and they all had intensive dialogs to be able to wane down the entries but to winners and several commendations were inevitable. The jury were really impressed with the way the young minds in the fraternity were addressing core issues, being empathetic, contextual, responsive, and responsible and several of them pursuing sustainability to the extent of zero footprint. As jury panellist, Ar.Bharat Ramamrutham mentioned, “the future of Indian architecture is indeed in safe hands”.

Following are the award winners:

1. Category: Best Young Practice: SPACE FOR LIVING

Winner: A for Architecture

Commendations: 3dor concepts, A line studio, Avinash Ankalge, Cochin creative collective

2.Category: Best Young Practice: SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ARCHITECTURE

Winners: Compartment S4, Mad(e) in Mumbai

Commendation: Myspace architects

3.Category: Best Young Practice: SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

Winner: Avinash Ankalge

Commendations: Mitti, Bhoomija creations

4.Category: Best Young Practice: SPACES FOR COLLECTIVITY AND COLLABORATION

Winner: Art on architecture

5.Category: Best Young Practice: ARCHITECTURAL DETAILING

Winner: A line studio

6.Category: Best young Practice: IDEAS FOR FUTURE

Winners: Sthaan, Cochin creative collective

7.Category: Best Young Practice: ARCHIETCTURAL REPRESENTATION/ VISUALISATION

Winners: Sthaan, Cochin creative collective

8.Category: Best Young Practice: SPACES FOR WORKING

Winner: Flying seeds

Commendations: Shreyas Patil architects, Workshop Inc.

The Workshops Series

This series proved a delight to the participants. They transpired to be very inspiring, educational, and insightful. Each of them was curated with much thought by the array of distinguished mentors. CHINTA was all a 48-hour hard work for one of the city’s strategic locations including the erstwhile Municipal Office building, the street connecting it to the beach, new corporation office premise and a vacant land in between, all on 1.5 acres of land extent.

“Calicut has since time immemorial offered a place for people from afar to settle down, conduct trade and express their ethnic culture through art, cuisine, architecture, and literature. It is truly a palimpsest directed by maritime trade, colonial politics and living communal heritage; often drawing and redrawing its invisible boundaries of new and old! Such a context that is perpetually renewed and ageing simultaneously, it offers room for timeless architecture to survive, while others to be replaced and rewritten through a linear progression in time. Thus, we argue that everything is historical, and context is nothing but fluid.

How do we interpret ‘historical’ in architecture? Is it simply an artifact of ‘a’ past or a being in the present? What can the future offer to such architectural artifacts of ‘a’ past? What is Calicut’s critical vernacular?” narrated Ar.Simi Sreedharan, Principal Architect, Commonground and Convenor, Workshops, YAF 2022, in her brief.

In the exploratory workshop, the mentors, Ar.Shimul Zaveri Kadri, Ar.Bijoy Ramachandran, Ar.Biju Kuriakose and Ar.Pallinda Kannangara had an enthralling two days with the young minds who were much positively receptive and inquisitive of the mentoring they had and were elated at the opportunity. BHAVANA and the school children turned out to be a learning experience for the mentors in return. This workshop yet again addressed the design possibility of another public space in the city: the Lion’s Club children’s park. Working with the primary stakeholders and engaging with their untapped sources of creativity, proved to be an exercise where the child became the father of man, responded the workshop mentors, Ar.Madhav Raman, Ar.Niranjan S. Warrier, Ar.Vishnu and Ar.Aromal. Unbelievable responses creating AI games, place making, bird watching, storytelling and much more were the results of this engagement. NIRMANA by Masons Ink studio, AKARA by Er.Manjunath and SAMSARA by Akon Mitra on “oritechture” were experiential in being hands-on with materials, its many properties and applications. LIPI gave a wonderful insight into Architectural journalism and writing, while the mentors Tanya Khanna and Suneet Langar from Epistle Communications, also looked into branding and its cues.

The forum and rapid fire

The Forum addressed current challenges in the industry that heeded an eager audience. “A new perspective to architectural journalism”, “Walk for Arcause”- in conversation with Ar. Geetha Balakrishnan and “En-gendering architecture” we discoursed before a much enthusiastic gathering. The rapid fires with starchitects were a fun and engaging session with direct access from audience to the guest architect on the hotseat.

Yatra

The festival did get sunny too. This was a curated series of outdoor activities early in the morning. The public project tour gave glimpses into the results of IIA, Calicut centre’s decade long effort in trying to connect architecture to the streets, in making a difference on ground zero. The Freedom Square- a public stage and sculpture narrating history, Samudra- a convention space for the fisherman community, Government Higher Secondary School at Karaparamba and Udayam- a home for transition for the destitute of the city, all proved how the fraternity can work hand in hand with the governance, people’s representatives, and people themselves, to create their own public spaces and eventually the city as well. An inspiration for the entire nation to uphold and work towards bettering our own built environment. The Heritage walk curated by Captain (Retd) Ramesh Babu and Sketching trail with Ar.Peter Rich and Ar.Jayakrishnan were also a positive way to start the day.

Crea: The National Students Installation Competition

“At its roots, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live, but architecture is more than just the built environment, it’s also a part of our culture. Good Architecture can encourage social merging, participation, safety, recreation, and a variety of other social values; it has a positive impact on user perception of the place.

Indian public spaces have more dimensions rather than physical ones, such as emotional, cultural, social value, and interactions with the public. While designing public spaces to cherish and celebrate life, this ethos should be nurtured” briefed Ar. Rohit Palakkal, principal architect, Nestcraft architecture, Convenor, Installations, Crossroads- YAF 2022.

The installation was curated to consider the context to make an inspiring multisensory contribution, while maximizing the possibility of public engagement and interaction. It should also respond to the culture and history of the place.

Students groups displayed much innovation and originality in the installations they put up. Seeting was the premise of Urban Angadi, the flea market which was open to public as well. The interactive nature of some of those installations were a moment of marvel for the public, especially children.

Urban Angadi, The backup plan, wcmt, avial, dj richard and more

What is a festival without a cultural extravaganza? The event curated several, small stage, big stage, cultural snippets that were of local flavour. The Pancharimelam, Thayambakam, Kolkali and the flash mob by gen-Z were indulging experiences. The on-stage performances by Mamangam India were mesmerising interludes to the grand finale of the event, the awards night. Urban Angadi, the flea market showcasing 40 small and medium businesses from the locals, 9 live bands and engaging performances along with cultural savouries for the watering mouths were the sweet cherry on the top.

Closure

In his welcome address to the valedictory function, National Convenor, YAF 2022 and principal architect, DAC Global, quoted a great author, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer as saying, “Onnum onnum immini balya onnu- which translates to saying one plus one is a big one. I would like to emphasise on this, that this is through the union on all of us present here, that this event has been made successful.” The constant support of the leadership from IIA, National body and IIA, Kerala Chapter was a strong backing to IIA, Calicut centre to get this event to this magnitude. Ar.Sham Salim, Co-convenor, YAF 2022, joint honourary secretary, IIA, Calicut Centre and principal architect, Aslamsham architects, remembered that “We wanted to make it a festival in its full essence, which had something for everyone! Be it architecture, art, culture, cuisine, or just the relations you build.” A splendour of a festival for three days in the land renowned for its hospitality. Its beaches, its hillocks, its markets, its streets, its culture and food, its people, they recharged, rejuvenated, inspired, revived, motivated, uplifted, cheered, made happy its delegates and guests from all over the country. A new benchmark to the conduct of events in the nation. A new paradigm to the curation of the celebration of architecture, art, culture, food, music and much more. Calicut, rising to be a Design Metropolis and paving the path for an architectural renaissance in “God’s own country”- the State of Kerala, has done it all!

 

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