The Tenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2008
Berkeley Prize 2008

Anusha Narayanan and Avikal Somvanshi Proposal

Sparsha: Creating Shelter in a Wasteland

Slum Networking of Indore City,
Indore, India; Aga Khan Award 1998


PHIL COLLINS in this heartfelt song beautifies the agonies of homeless and the lack of compassion in the rest. The essence of humanity lies in the ability to communicate feelings and the desire to work to reach the zenith of one’s potential. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have been pursuing the latter with a lot more enthusiasm and have left out on the former. We might achieve our goals doing as we have done for long, but our existence is incomplete without ‘feelings’. If we could just start to feel again… In a humble attempt to revive The Feeling, a modest motivation by the name of ‘Sparsha’ is being proposed. In doing so, we hope to bring together the community to feel the frustrations of the underprivileged, homeless, roadside dwellers and help improve their existence. ’Sparsha’- the Sanskrit word for the act of ‘a touch’ is an outreach to the community to tie up with the future architects of the nation in bringing smiles to the hardened face of the homeless Indian. This competition will be organized by students of S.M.V.D.U with infrastructural support from the university authorities.


Objective: Bringing to life any junkyard / local dumping grounds / waste land by sculpturing it into a night shelter for homeless.

Number of participants per team: Since this is a research and fieldwork oriented activity, a team of up to 3 members, with at least one undergraduate architecture student necessarily, are eligible.

Stage One Time period: 4 weeks Stage Two Time Period: 2 weeks

Note: Applicants need to register themselves by sending in their details (names of participants, e-mail addresses and their respective institutes.) on acknowledgement of which the participants will be allotted a Registration no. which they will use to identify themselves during this competition.


1. The participants have to select an existing junkyard / dumping ground / wasteland in the locality which they plan to develop into a night shelter for the homeless.

2. Design proposals have to be submitted in the form of site plan, site section, plans, sections ,elevations and other necessary details on A1 sheets (2 nos.) in the form of drawings.

A. On the bottom right corner of the sheet, a 5 cm X 3.5 cm box should bear the registration no. Nothing else giving away their identity should be present on the sheets. Failure to do so may lead to disqualification.

B. Sheets can be hand drafted /computer-rendered depending upon the convenience of the participants. This is because computerization of drawings is not prevalent in all places and A1 print-out facilities are restricted to a handful of institutions only.

C. Landscaping and beautification of the chosen site to convert it into a healthy and welcoming space should be integrated.

3. A report on the microclimate, flora and fauna, geology and hydrogeology of the chosen site must be elaborated. The demography of the locality has to be attached herewith. (500 words max.)

A. A full report estimating the cost of construction and completion of the proposed project has to be submitted inclusive of material and labor costs.(750 words)

B. Ideas to generate funds through contribution from the local community or resale of recycled material from the junkyard should be attached to the aforementioned.

C. Teams have to assure that the local community is willing to take active part in the proposed project. A supporting feedback report from at least 10 local occupants is expected. D. The report must enclose photographs and conceptual sketches necessary to explain the course of action chosen.

4. The entries will be judged on the basis of clarity of thought, precision of approach, social and economic viability along with functional sustainability of the structures. 5. All entries must reach the mentioned destination on or before the submission date as mentioned below.

STAGE TWO: APPLICATION Guidelines: 1. On the basis of the entries submitted during stage 01, the shortlisted teams (5 no.) will be required to report to S.M.V.D.U. Campus to participate in stage 02.

2. Herein, the teams need to appear for a jury in which their design shall be analyzed on the basis of their presentation to the present jury members and a selective audience.

3. The presentation may be in the form of a speech, sketch, power-point presentations, or a combination or something entirely different. Please inform the organizers in advance to facilitate the arrangements.

4. A model of the proposed project is expected to be submitted at the time of jury. Scale of the model is to the convenience.

5. Teams will be judged on the understanding of their design, underlying concepts, practicality of the approach, social impact of the design, originality of the ideas and ability to convince the jury members and clarity.

6. Participants should keep in mind that the winning design could be potentially built or assembled in future.

7. It must be highlighted that the purpose of conducting the whole contest is to reinstate a feeling of security and contentment among the homeless for whom the night shelter is to be designed. At all stages this factor must be kept in mind.

Note: All the entries will be a property of S.M.V.D.U.

The schedule for the competition shall be as follows:

Stage 01. Last date for receiving entries- July 14, 2008. Jury- 19th and 20th July, 2008. Declaration of result – 21st July, 2008.

Stage 02. Day of final jury: 4th and 5th august 2008. Declaration of results: 8th of august, 2008.

Awards: Winners- 2000 USD 1st Runners- 1000 USD 2nd Runners- 500 USD

From the organizer’s side we would like to invite the following jury members: 1. Prof. N.K. Bansal- Vice Chancellor, S.M.V.D.U. for his extensive knowledge on the subject of sustainable and renewable energy. E-mail:

2. Prof. C.L. Razdan- Director, School Of Architecture and Landscape Design, S.M.V.D.U E-mail: 3. Ms. Sunita Narain: Environmentalist, Centre For Science And Environment, Delhi. E-mail:

Furthermore, it is understood that for the execution of the event on a large scale financial assistance will have to be roped in from various sources in the form of sponsors. For instance: 1. HUDCO. They are deeply involved in low cost housing and development of architecture for the financially weaker sections of our society 2. CSE. An NGO actively involved in environmental up gradation are suggested sponsors.

Publicity of the event could be done through the already established network of National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA), India- and other online media such as community websites. Posters and letter of declaration of the event will be sent to all the schools and colleges of architecture in India to inform their students.

Memories like these are hard to come by and are once-in-a-lifetime so to say. To cherish these for the greater parts of our life and also to set a record for future guidance documentation of this event will be carried out by the organizers themselves in the form of a report giving full account of the details and efforts put into preparation, organization and conduction of the competition. A photo diary will be maintained for the whole event and photographs of the entries to the competition will be provided for the BERKELEY PRIZE website along with the report.

In this process ‘Sparsha’ rekindles the social and moral responsibilities of the vivacious youth of the country reinstating the feeling of belongingness and spontaneity- the truly human qualities fading away in humans today. “OH THINK TWICE, ‘CAUSE IT’S ANOTHER DAY…FOR YOU AND ME IN PARADISE.”

Avikal Somvanshi, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu and Kashmir, India
By Anusha Narayanan

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.-
-Alexander pope- "A Quiet Life"

He comes from the noble town of Allahabad- the literary or the "white-collar" hub of the India. He has lived his life on his terms from the time he took control of it. Paying heed to obligations and familial ties, his decisions have been his own, holding only himself responsible for the path he chose to tread. He is a person driven by a passionate force towards his goals, be it an immediate milestone such as the Berkeley design fellowship or a life-long commitment such as Architecture. Avikal does not see life as twofold as most people might- i.e. professional and personal. His profession is just as intimate and personal to him as his private life. He has always believed that everything exists interconnectedly, mysteriously, fitting its purpose in and relation to the environment. Thus, while conceptualizing Sparsha- our proposed contest , he felt this need to share this human bond fulfilled. Being in a profession that demands humane treatment, Sparsha saw us touching the homeless and the roadside dwellers, who now-a-days go untouched by the architectural profession. To him and his heart, Sparsha holds a truly undiluted place and faith. I hope this carries on to his future, as we are yet to enter the realm of 'competitive' architecture. But with simplicity and innocence so pure, his talents are bound to sparkle remarkably, as time prevails…

Anusha Narayanan, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu and Kashmir, India
By Avikal Somvanshi

"Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together"
-Petrarch, "De Remedies"

She is a beautiful lady with iron commitment. Her resilience has always amazed me but so does her clumsiness at times. She hails from a humble and serene Tamil family, currently settled in Delhi. Her devotion to the noble field of architecture is something to adore and reflect. She has this flare for setting these impossible standards for others to live up to be it bagging the scholarship from Singapore airlines or currently her fellowship from Berkeley. She constantly questions authority but knows how to mend her path, tread that unbeaten road or sail those uncharted seas.

Her heart beats for all the unfortunate fellow citizens who have been wronged by the superficial society and even life itself. The pain of not having a roof to rest those tired bones at night is deeply understood by her and these feeling are what she poured out in the words that made the essay. The Berkeley Architectural Design Fellowship gives her the opportunity to work for what she sincerely believes in. And with all the understanding deliver what she always had inside her…

"And yet to learn of kindness…… After so much unkindness. To understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find that her prayers were answered. Can that not be called happiness? After all, these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen… … These are memoirs of another kind."

These words from the motion picture "The Memoirs of a Geisha" capture her essence impeccably, carried along by the current of time…

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Anusha Narayanan and Avikal Somvanshi, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu and Kashmir, India; Sparsha: Creating Shelter in Wasteland
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