Despite the universal presence of architectural forms in human societies, architecture, as a serious topic of anthropological enquiry, has been somewhat overlooked by the discipline as a whole. This article draws upon an anthropology of architecture as ‘process’ to explore the controversy involved in a disputed architectural award presented to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Rajasthan, India. The author follows the manner in which the actors involved in the controversy define and construct the situation, in the process bringing to light normally overlooked aspects of development and architecture. In this conceptualisation, the built form is imagined as neither exclusively social nor material but rather processual, in which the currents and paths of myriad relationships turn static constructions into complex spaces of conflict and negotiation. The article concludes that only by paying attention to the material forms of such processes can we account for how certain narratives triumph over others.