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Landscapes designed to appease memories

Henna Rakheja, Nov 6, 2012, DHNS:

CREATIVE MINDS

Young minds cross all spatial boundaries to create things that are difficult to be true yet are strongly convincing. Such limitless imaginations were provided wings by Landscape Foundation, which organised the fifth edition of Student Design Competition in collaboration with Jamia Milia Islamia.

The posters were up on August 1 across architecture and design colleges pan India who sent entries by October 15. The theme this year was Landscape and Memories, which required participants to combine memories with landscape design but their thoughts were not restricted and they could choose any site for development. In two months, the students chased carved landscape designs on paper and 105 entries were competing for the top prize of Rs 50,000!

From the memories of Bhopal Gas Tragedy to those of Kalpana Chawla, the participants developed designs for parks. Some showed their love for Bollywood and cricket by presented designs for dedicated theme parks. Many chose to revive monuments and sites of historical significance such as Tughlaqabad and Adilabad forts.

But the first two prizes were bagged by School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. The first prize went to Sujoy Das’s design titled ‘Memory of Khoai’  which attempts to address varied cultural and environmental associations outside Shanti Niketan.

The concept connects memories of people transforming them into a well presented design of how the dead river bead of Khoai near Shantiniketan can be revived as a cultural hub with baol singers, santhalis dancers and Khoai mela. Sujoy says, “The site near Shanti Niketan which has a 6 meter depression area of red soil, inspired me to recreate the magic of the dead river. I have discu­s­sed the environmental issues but there are few human interventions that need to be addressed.”

Thus the designs are workable to certain extents. Such as the second winning design by Kajoli, Shikha and Nidhi titled ‘Samsaara – Memory of Life’ which explores the spiritual significance of Gaya and the eternal memories of the cycle of life through a design that flows, creating spaces in a well-resolved landscape. “Samsara is a space which is associated with the memory of various phases of life like Childhood, Adult, Old age and Death. Elements of landscape express the characteristic of these phases. The design tries to rejuvenate a visitor’s mind and bring alive his memories of these stages.

Participants also developed designs on the basis of a city such as Bangalore Blues which explores the nightlife of Bangalore and some delved deeper into memories to bring to life the landscapes which were shared through the works of novelist Ruskin Bond and even filmmaker Satyajit Ray!

Geeta Wahi Dua, the organiser of the competition says, “We wanted the interpretations to have aesthetic dimensions and the emphasis remained on a clear understanding of idea generation and development. We reali­sed that the entries were influenced a lot from culture and religion.”


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