The much-awaited IIA Young Architects Festival 2022, hosted by the Indian Institute of Architects Kerala Chapter, along with CROSSROADS, organized by the IIA Calicut Centre was held at Calicut from 27-29 October 2022. The three-day event was attended by over 2500 registered delegates from all over the country.
The festival was envisioned as three days of celebration for architects to connect, convene and celebrate architecture with workshops, competitions, live presentations, and panel discussions by eminent architects. Workshops were held on Oritecture, Materials & Techniques, Form & Structure, and on Design Sensitisation for School Children. Livening up the event further were musical nights, cocktail parties, and a flea market showcasing the culture of Calicut.
The mainstay of the event were the thought provoking panel discussions on topics as varied as Let the wall stop none, Architecture is for all; Art can speak more than words; Architecture-Knowledge of Form or A Form of Knowledge; God Is In The Details; The World Is Changing, Are We?; There Are 360 Degrees. Why Think Linear; Let The Voices Be Heard, Through The Language Of Art And Architecture; Cultural Vanguard With An Ecological Conscience; Meaningful Implications Vs Glimmering Aesthetics. Where Do We Strike A Balance; The Future Of Architecture Practice, Opportunities And Challenges Faced By Young Architects; and on Architectural Journalism - The Bridge Between The Profession & The People, Opportunities And Challenges.
Jury for the National Design Competition: Reweave Kozhikode- Reimagining Comtrust and precicnts, visiting the site and the dilapidated buildings. From left, Ar.Soumitro Ghosh, Ar.Peter Rich, Prof. K. T. Ravindran, Ar.Prasoon, Co-convenor, Competitions, Crossroads- YAF 2022, Ar.Afifa Nuzhat, Co-convenor, Competitions, Crossroads- YAF 2022.
The festival’s most prestigious YAF AWARDS 2022 saw entries from India’s promising young architects. The entries were judged in various categories such as Sustainable Architecture, Socially Responsible Architecture, Spaces for Living, Spaces for Collectivity and Collaboration, Architectural Representation or Visualisation, Architectural Detailing, and Ideas for the Future. A distinguished panel of jury comprising of eminent architects assessed all the entries in a two-stage process. The event saw live presentations of the shortlisted entries.
“The IIA Young Architects Festival 2022 aims to encourage and celebrate the contribution of Young Architects to the profession. We take pleasure in reintroducing the YAF Awards in an all-new format by awarding the entire practice and not just an individual project. This shall be a benchmark created to bring the nation’s most talented practices to the national podium, thereby setting future design trends for the country,” said Ar. Brijesh Shaijal, Convenor, The Indian Institute of Architect’s YAF 2022.
The Colloquium 02: Shikshan. On the dias from left, moderator, Ar.Soumini Raja; Ar.Neelkanth Chaaya; Ar.Rupali Gupte; Ar.Habeeb Khan, President, Council of Architecture; and Ar. Shruthie Shah.
The Young Architects Festival was co-joined with the Calicut Centre’s very own event- CROSSROADS, a forum for relevant architectural deliberations, critical thinking, and ideation in the field of architecture. This edition of CROSSROADS was being curated as a Design Festival celebrating the city, its architecture, design, art, and culture. A national design competition titled “REWEAVE KOZHIKODE - Re-imagining the Comtrust Precinct” announced cash prizes worth 9 lakhs for the winners.
YATRA Heritage Walk to Thali temple early in the morning. Public projects tours and the sketching trail were held every day early in the morning.
Three Days of Celebration
Serene Sarovaram biopark and Calicut Trade Centre lit up the Canoly Canal stretch in mesmerising grandeur. Three days of intellectual satiation. 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!
Cultural interludes during the event: Kolkali, a native art form of Malabar area in Kerala.
The Festival saw over 2500 registered delegates from all over the country congregate at the venue to witness award ceremonies, competitions, workshops, presentations, and panel discussions by eminent architects. Later in the evening, the venue came alive with the sound of live music and dance, cocktail dinners, and the fragrance of delicious food that Calicut is renowned for.
With over 2500 delegates, 200 guests, 10000 footfalls, and 350 volunteers, it was the country’s biggest architectural festival.
A full house main venue, Sabha, during the Colloquium sessions.
National Design Competition
Re-Weave Kozhikode: Reimagining the Comtrust Precinct
The national design competition saw presentations by nine finalists, showcasing sensitive, responsive, comprehensive, all-encompassing design interventions to help re-weave a lost treasure with its city and its people, and without losing its identity and inherent character.
The presentations showed different approaches by the competing architect firms to carefully restore and revive a heritage structure in the city centre, not just making it a showcased artifact, but one with a soul and a lineage.
The competition raised several questions: Can we re-weave a factory building and a city? Can we re-weave buildings of yesterday? Can we re-weave the life of a weaving factory?
Reweave Kozhikode finalists’ presentation being remarked upon by public dignitaries. From left: District Collector Shri. Narasimhaguri T. L. Reddy, Dr.M. K. Muneer, MLA, and Shri.Pradeep Kumar A., Ex-MLA, along with moderator Ar.Vinod Cyriac.
“Re-weave Kozhikode is a national design competition that aims to enable the stakeholders 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.
While the Comtrust factory and the buildings are extremely significant historically, the context is even more relevant as it is right in the 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.
The eminent jury comprised of prominent personalities like 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 can be gauged by how holistically they looked at a complex problem; they didn’t just treat it as heritage, rather, they dealt with it 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 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.
Prof. K. T. Ravindran, urban practitioner and academician, 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. “Many of the entries had met these parameters,” he observed. The jury discussion was moderated by Ar. Aabid Raheem.
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 the public as well as the 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 towards bridging the gap between architecture and the people.
A curated photo exhibition with Comtrust building photographs taken by architect photographer Syam Sreesylam, at the Kerala Lalithakala Academy, lasted a whole week before the event, where entry to public was also open.
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.
Winner of the National Design Competition being bestowed the certificate and memento in the presence of Jury members and distinguished guests.
“It has been our endeavour 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. The Comtrust precinct in the heart of Kozhikode City has been in the public eye for quite some time now. This competition shall be of utmost relevance to the city and we hope the entries inspire the fraternity along with the Government to revive the area in its nurtured totality,” commented Ar. Noufal C. Hashim, Convenor, CROSSROADS, IIA Calicut Centre.
Honouring Ar. N.M.Salim
Ar.N. M. Salim being honoured with the Ponnada, by Ar.C.R.Raju, President, IIA National, in context to celebrating his 50 glorious years of architectural practice.
50 years of architectural practice requires a great deal of endurance, commitment, and passion. Ar. N.M.Salim made being an ‘architect’ familiar with the people of Calicut, where the profession was unheard of. We as a fraternity look up to his success as an inspirational one - a man who worked hard and created his own success story. This is how Ar.Babu Cherian, principal architect, BCA and senior mentor, Crossroads- YAF 2022, introduced him. Ar. C.R.Raju wrapped him in the ponnada, and presented him with a memento while a short video gave glimpses of his glorious 50 years of practice.
The honourable minister for Public Works Department and Tourism, Kerala, Shri.Mohammed Riyas, launches the manual on architectural practice for the Council of Architecture.
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 recognising them for their overall contributions to the fraternity. The IIA mobile application was unveiled. Day 01 concluded with Ar. Noufal C. Hashim, principal architect, Twoi architects and Convenor, Crossroads- YAF 2022, briefing the delegates on the proceedings of the event.
COLLOQUIUM & MORE/ SEC
The two program-packed days began by live morning ragas by talented artists followed by thought provoking intense sessions. In the opening address, IIA, Calicut centre Chairperson and principal architect, De Earth, Ar. Vivek P. P. said, “Our responsibility towards the environment is aplenty in light of the 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 interests of everyone who inhabits this ‘pale blue dot’.
While Colloquium became a back-and-forth conversation between the moderator and esteemed panellists who have created their niches in the field of architecture, More/Sec provided an opportunity for the panellists to express their expertise on each topic visually, in an attempt to cover more over a fixed time of 7minutes and to echo the theme for YAF 2022 Crossroads, ‘Architecture for Everyone’.
A full house Sabha witnessing Ar.Pallinda Kannangara’s presentation of his works during Colloquium session “When East meets West”, a discourse between Ar.Peter Rich and Ar.Pallinda Kannangara.
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 a wide spectrum of 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. Ar.Peter Rich and Ar.Pallinda Kannangara had a discourse on “When east meets west”. Ar. Pallinda unveiled the book: The Architecture of Peter Rich, Conversations with Africa.
YAF Awards 2022
The Young Architects Festival Awards 2022 was reformatted 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,” informed Ar. Sujith G. S., Convenor, YAF Awards. Each category had eminent jury panels who were 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 said, “The future of Indian architecture is indeed in safe hands.”
- Category: Best Young Practice: SPACE FOR LIVING
Winner: A for Architecture
Commendations: 3dor concepts, A line studio, Avinash Ankalge, Cochin creative collective
- Category: Best Young Practice: SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ARCHITECTURE
Winners: Compartment S4, Mad(e) in Mumbai
Commendation: Myspace architects
- Category: Best Young Practice: SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE
Winner: Avinash Ankalge
Commendations: Mitti, Bhoomija creations
- Category: Best Young Practice: SPACES FOR COLLECTIVITY AND COLLABORATION
Winner: Art on architecture
- Category: Best Young Practice: ARCHITECTURAL DETAILING
Winner: A line studio
- Category: Best young Practice: IDEAS FOR FUTURE
Winners: Sthaan, Cochin creative collective
- Category: Best Young Practice: ARCHIETCTURAL REPRESENTATION/ VISUALISATION
Winners: Sthaan, Cochin creative collective
- Category: Best Young Practice: SPACES FOR WORKING
Winner: Flying seeds
Commendations: Shreyas Patil architects, Workshop Inc.
This series proved a delight to the participants as 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 a 48-hour 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 premises, and a vacant land in between, all on 1.5 acres of land.
Workshop NIRMANA in progress by Ar.Rosie Paul of Masons Ink Studio, Bangalore.
“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! 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, 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 receptive and inquisitive. BHAVANA and the school children turned out to be a learning experience for the mentors. 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 according to Ar.Madhav Raman, Ar.Niranjan S. Warrier, Ar.Vishnu, Ar.Shyam Purvankara 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, while mentors Tanya Khanna and Suneet Langar from Epistle Communications also looked into branding and its cues.
Culmination of the workshop BHAVANA with mentors. From left - Ar.Vishnu, Ar.Madhav Raman, Ar.Shyam Purvankara, Ar.Niranjan S. Warrier, Ar.Aromal, and the participating children.
The Forum & Rapid Fire
The Forum addressed current challenges in the industry to an eager audience. “A new perspective to architectural journalism”, “Walk for Arcause”- in conversation with Ar. Geetha Balakrishnan and “En-gendering architecture” were discoursed. The rapid fires with starchitects were a fun and engaging session with direct access from audience to the guest architect on the hotseat.
The festival saw 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 the destitute, all proved how the fraternity can work hand in hand with the governance to create their own public spaces and eventually the city as well. 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.
Team YATRA after the promotional cycle ride through the city early morning on day zero.
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 other social values; it has a positive impact on user perception of the place. Indian public spaces have more dimensions rather than just 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, and should also respond to the culture and history of the place.
Students’ installation, as part of CREA, getting the last touches at the public venue of Urban Angadi.
Student groups displayed innovation and originality in their installations at the premises of Urban Angadi, the flea market, which was open to the public as well. The interactive nature of some of the installations was a moment of marvel for the public, especially children.
What is a festival without a cultural extravaganza? The event curated several cultural snippets of local flavour. The Pancharimelam, Thayambakam, Kolkali and the flash mob by gen-Z, the on-stage performances by Mamangam India were mesmerising interludes to the grand finale of the event. Adjacent to the venue was the ‘Urban Angadi’ - a flea market showcasing vibrant and creative products by young entrepreneurs. The crowd also thrilled to the musicians playing live music and the stalls selling delicious snacks.
Urban Angadi showcased 40 small and medium businesses from the locals, 9 live bands, and cultural savouries.
Calicut Rising to be a Design Metropolis
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, said, “We wanted to make it a festival in its full essence - be it architecture, art, culture, cuisine, or just the relations you build.”
The 3-day Festival proved that Calicut, renowned for its hospitality, beaches, hillocks, markets, streets, culture and food, is rising to be a Design Metropolis and paving the way for an architectural renaissance in “God’s own country”- the State of Kerala.