Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)
Within five months of being adjudged India champion of the Asia Young Designer Award (AYDA) Contest 2020 held virtually early this year, Bengaluru-based architect Neha Harish (24) has been adjudged Young Sustainable Designer 2020 (architecture) of Asia in a transnational competition organised by Osaka (Japan)-based Nippon Paint Holdings Co.
In the online final round play-off of July 8, this young architect’s PowerPoint presentation titled Requiem for Tolerance, which highlights the connection between architecture, homelessness and memory to showcase tolerance as a solution to loss of identity suffered by displaced migrants in instances of civil war, economic upheaval and international wars, was adjudged the best of 13 entries and awarded a cash prize of $1,000.
“Given that the subject of my final year undergrad dissertation was aligned to the human centered design AYDA theme, I signed up for the competition drawing from it. I attribute this achievement to continuous faculty, parental and peer support,” acknowledges Neha, a 2020 graduate of R.V. College of Architecture, Bengaluru now employed with CollectiveProject, a Bengaluru-based design firm.
Launched in 2008, the AYDA contest — open to third, fourth and fifth year architecture and interior design students and postgrads in 15 Asian countries — is Nippon Paint’s unprecedented initiative to nurture socially-conscious architects and planners in Asia. The theme for this year’s AYDA edition required contestants to suggest ways and means to improve quality of life through architecture and design innovations.
Moved by the plight of Tamil migrants during a 2018 trip to Sri Lanka, Neha is planning to donate a part of her Asia championship cash award towards rehabilitation of Tamils displaced during the 26 year civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009. “I also hope to work towards implementing my dream project in Chennai, which hosts the country’s largest number of camps for Tamil refugees displaced during the under-reported civil war,” she says.
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