Delhi-NCR institute organises event themed on women in architecture


Students and faculty members together put up a vibrant showcase of art and creativity at the event

By Disha Roy Choudhury: A sprawling green campus dotted with creative décor and unique art installations set just the right mood for the fourth edition of Apeejay Festival of Ideas by Ignited Minds (AFIM) hosted by Apeejay Institute of Technology-School of Architecture and Planning (AIT-SAP).

The mega event, which was held online earlier amid the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessed a gathering of some of the leading architects of the country and enthusiastic students this time.

The latter showcased their penchant for Architecture by designing a beautiful stage at the college Amphitheatre using eco-friendly materials like bamboo, jute, and coir rope, in line with the theme of the event—”Towards a Sustainable Future”.

While sustainability has been a recurrent theme at AIT-SAP’s endeavours, this time AFIM also dedicated the event to “Women Empowerment in Architecture”, exemplified by the women architects who joined insightful panel discussions at the event.

The event began with the auspicious lighting of the lamp, followed by an address by Vivek Sabherwal, director, AIT-SAP. Ar Gurmeet S Rai, director, Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative, and Professor (Ar) Charanjit Singh Shah, founder, Creative Group, were the chief guests on the first and second day of the event respectively. Rai, in her inaugural speech, asked students to “investigate” human interaction with nature. “I would urge you to expand your knowledge system and understand where you are in the universal energy system.”

Ar Atul Gupta, President, Architects Association of Noida Zone (AANZ), and Ar Harish Tripathi, President, Government College of Architecture (GCA), Lucknow, were the guests of honour. To encourage students, Ar Gupta also announced two best thesis awards. 

Declaring the event open, Professor Sabherwal welcomed the esteemed guests and introduced the theme of the event.

He also announced AIT-SAP will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year. He thanked Sushma Paul Berlia, chairperson, Apeejay Education–who was also the chief patron—and Neha Berlia, co-promoter, Apeejay Stya & Svran Group and pro-chancellor, Apeejay Stya University, for their continued support.

In a message sent by Mrs Berlia, she urged budding architects to “imbibe the traits of sustainability.” The event, she said, “takes inspiration from former President of India Abdul Kalam’s book “Ignited Minds”, which highlights virtues of creativity and a positive attitude to achieve ground-breaking success, among other things. As architects, we are not just creating for ourselves – we are creating for the world.  There is a big element of social responsibility.

“In tune with Apeejay Education’s commitment towards women empowerment, this time we have also added the theme of ‘Women empowerment in Architecture’.

I am sure it will go a long way in adding a whole new dimension to the event. In essence, it is important to keep asking yourself questions, reflect deeply and come up with your own solutions.

You will realise that you have answers to all your questions.  Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you had wanted it to be, do not give up!  Sooner or later, it will find its place in the environment.”

‘Women in architecture’

The panel discussion on Day 1 comprised experienced sustainable practising architects including Sheetal Rakheja, managing partner, AEON Design & Development LLP, Dr Vandana Sehgal, dean of Architecture, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Professor Jayashree Deshpande, director, Council of Architecture Training and Research Centre (COA-TRC), and Gita Balakrishnan, founder, ETHOS, and Nilanjan Bhowal, principal architect, Design Consortium.

The panellists shared their personal journeys and experiences, addressing how the industry has been gearing towards promoting inclusivity. 

The speakers also talked about how architecture institutes could play a significant role in promoting women empowerment through equal opportunities, safety initiatives, among other issues like sustaining sustainability in academics, social responsibility, and more.

The idea of women empowerment was further celebrated through some brilliant cultural performances, from band music to dances and nukkad natak (street play).

Not just students, some professors also gave a sneak-peek into their creativity through music and poetry. On the sidelines, students took part in exciting on-spot competitions as well.

Architectural works of celebrated artists like late Ar BV Doshi, Ar Christopher Benninger, Ar Charanjit  Singh Shah, Ar Nilanjan Bhowal, Ar Yatin Pandya, Ar Sangeet Sharma, and Ar Somaya Brinda, were displayed on unique bamboo panels.

Illustrating the urgency of environment conservation and combating climate change effects, the students also built a sustainability-themed 

maze right outside the AIT-SAP building that depicted the journey from a green environment to deterioration of natural resources and finally restoration.

On Day 2, some enriching seminars and workshops were also held for architecture students. AFIM 2023 ended successfully with a convocation and award ceremony as students went home with some brilliant insights. 

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