It explored the threshold between ‘contextuality’ (what is) and ‘transformation’ (what needs to be) through the lens of gender sensitivity. The challenge was to create a design intervention within the existing basti space that would serve to address the problems of the local youth of both genders (youth being, also, representative of the threshold between childhood and old age). Engagement with the community was necessary, and the project had to be substantiated with relevant stories and documentaries.

Parallel Projections as a theme for this year‘s NASA, has the potential to explore ideas of very diverse qualities. Parallel projections, in the architectural parlance, refer to plans, sections, elevations, and other orthographic drawings. However, architecture, as we all know is a muliti-layered process and Parallel Projections is relevant from that context as well. Between every projection and its parallel equivalent will be a THRESHOLD. The idea of a threshold is extremely fragile and potent at the same time. The threshold is a nebulous area, which is why it is the birthplace of creativity. It is the 'dawn' and 'dusk' periods of the day. It is the 'present' between the 'past' and the 'future', a time to live with full awareness. It is the 'youth' between 'childhood' and 'adulthood'. A threshold, especially between any 2 parallel projections will be a very exciting and engaging as a concept. In this G-sen competition we will deal with that very threshold.

There will be several parallel projections between the themes NASA has been exploring every year. Of these 2 most powerful themes have been

‗Contextuality‘ and ‗Transformation‘. Participants are asked to find the THRESHOLD between these two themes. They have to define & elaborate it after having fully explored all possibilities, and use it as a lens in accomplishing the tasks asked for in the brief while keeping ‘Gender sensitivity’ as a focus.

Theme 1 - CONTEXTUALITY, As In Nature

"Contextuality" is the theme and it also carries the value of ―relevance‖. With design leanings going all over the place in search of iconic structures alone, it is about time we introspected upon such values. If one digs a little deeper into the meaning of contextuality, one realizes that it is a many-faceted entity. There is one particular facet which is largely unexplored, that being the idea of the application of the theory of "self-similarity" prevalent in Nature, to use an analogy. It is observed that the building blocks of Nature possess a systemic similarity.

In Mathematics, a self-similar object is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself (i.e. the whole has the same shape as one or more of the parts). Many objects in the real world, such as coastlines, are statistically self-similar: parts of them show the same statistical properties at many scales. Self-similarity is a typical property of fractals. Scale invariance is an exact form of self-similarity where at any magnification there is a smaller piece of the object that is similar to the whole. (Source – Wikipedia –

Self-Similarity) Using this as a platform, students are encouraged to explore the possibilities of discovering ―Self-Similar‖ frameworks which may emerge during the process of engaging with the community.

Theme 2 - TRANSFORMATION through Gender-sensitivity

THE IDEA OF THE COMMONS – a value system

The ways communities get built today in Indian cities are due to state driven initiatives largely dependent on insufficient data and practically no surveys. Little thought is given to the public spaces generated and eventually, these degenerate into areas belonging to no owners and therefore no value, spawning unhygienic & criminal environments.

The idea of the commons, on the other hand, embraces the following:

  1. The commons cannot be commodified – if they are, they cease to be commons.
  2. Unlike private property, the commons are inclusive rather than exclusive — their nature is to share ownership as widely, rather than as narrowly, as possible.
  3. The assets in commons are meant to be preserved regardless of their return of capital. Just as we receive them as shared gifts, so we have a duty to pass them on to future generations in at least the same condition as we received them. If we can add to their value, so much the better, but at a minimum we must not degrade them, and we certainly have no right to destroy them. (Cited from Wikipedia)

Any transformation will require intense community participation and whole new categories of the commons will automatically emerge on their own, simply by sincere engagement.


Since youth is the threshold between childhood and adulthood, and all participants necessarily being from this category, it will be most appropriate that the design problem should be based on the design of a Centre for YOUTH. Please note that it has not been mentioned as a typology. This means that participants are not limited to being within the parameters of a typology. The idea here is to explore the needs of youth among the localities of the Urban Poor.


“India has one of the highest adolescent (253 million) and youth populations in the world. The Census of India (2011) has highlighted the profile and status of the adolescent and youth population, which constitutes a critical segment of the total population of India. Socio-political, economic and demographic developments depend on them. The transition from education and training to economic activity marks an important phase in the lives of youth, who are the productive workforce of the country. The huge unemployment among youth due to lack of skills and poverty is a long term challenge for India.

Youth is defined as those persons in the age group 15–24 years by the United Nations, though the age range for youth may vary in different countries due to different contexts and needs of youth. During this transitional phase, physical, educational, psychological, social and economic changes occur in their lives. The India National Youth Policy (NYP) covers all youth in the age group 13–35 years, which is divided into two groups, that is, 13–19 years and 20–35 years (National Youth Policy 2003). The recent National Youth Policy has defined youth as those in the age group 15–29 years, who comprise 27.5 per cent of the population. Youth is a

more fluid category than a fixed age-group. „Youth‟ is often indicated as a person between the age where she/he leaves compulsory education, and the age at which she/he finds her/his first employment (National Youth Policy 2014).” - Citation -

The design process will be divided in 3 parts as follows:

  1. Documentation –
    1. Step 1 - Participants have to engage with the idea of a threshold between the two themes as instructed.
    2. Step 2 - After this they must define & elaborate ‗THE THRESHOLD‘ after having fully explored all possibilities and document the design thinking and process in detail and use this as a lens in Part-2.
    3. Step 3 - After this, they are expected to select the localities as mentioned, and shall then be in communication with the youth (girls & boys) of this area. Please bear in mind that ‘Gender sensitivity‘ is a primary concern and shall be addressed explicitly.
    4. Step 4 - The process will be to interview them (please prepare appropriate questionnaire), understand and record their areas of concern. The objective is to record their needs in the habitat.
    5. Step 5 - Needs should center on the need for spaces of engagement. Step 6 - A documentation methodology will have to be evolved and presented.- 25 Days program.
  2. Collaboration – After having engaged the youth in fruitful conversations, the participants will now collaborate with the youth to create/build mock spaces of interaction and engagement as per the needs which would have emerged from the documentation process. These design interventions in selected spaces will have to be within the localities of their habitat. Please bear in mind that ‘Gender sensitivity‘ is a primary concern and shall be addressed explicitly. This process of collaboration should also be documented (in detail as given above) by written word, audio files, video files & photos. - 25 Days program.
  3. Representation – Entirely based on the Documentation and Collaboration processes, participants are to develop a program for the design and produce drawings for the same. The Centre for Youth will entirely depend upon the needs of the youth. Participants are expected to wisely develop the program in an innovative way so as to satisfy the needs as well as provide potential for the appropriate growth and engagement of those youth. - 25 Days program.

Explicit instructions for acceptance of presentations:

  1. The participants will consider only the passages given in this brief from the earlier themes and none other.
  2. The drawings to be presented will only be parallel projections. For instance, if it is to be a 3d it has to be either an isometric, axonometric etc. No perspective projections allowed. Participants can explore creative means of enhancing drawings for representations.
  3. Most importantly, all presentation shall be in black & white & all shades of grey. No color to be used, not even in the video presentations.
  4. The drawings to be presented in a single panel sheet (8*4 feet ) .
  5. Video film to be produced narrating the entire story of this design exercise. Laptop to be provided with every presentation for screening maximum for 5mins.


PART - 1

Challenge of the selected space with respect to Gender sensitivity,

  1. Method, process and nature of the documentation and presentation as elaborated in a step by step method in Part 1 – Documentation above.
  2. Key steps – defining the THRESHOLD, using it as a lens & maintaining ‗Gender sensitivity‘ as a focus.

PART – 2

  1. Innovation of the Design interventions especially aimed atGender equity,
  2. Success attributed to the design interventions.
  3. Potential for ACCEPTABILITY within the community. (To be separately documented.)
  4. Key steps – defining the THRESHOLD, using it as a lens & maintaining ‗Gender sensitivity‘ as a focus.

PART – 3

  1. Scale & Potential of the selected space with respect to Gender sensitivity,
  2. Public participation opportunities the SPACE invites especially aimed at Gender equity,
  3. Accessibility for women.
  4. Quality of innovative thinking used in traversing the complex layers of social & cultural diversity.
  5. Overall presentation techniques used to communicate the efficacy of the design system.
  6. 15% marks shall be for the quality of the video film produced.

5. Key steps – defining the THRESHOLD, using it as a lens & maintaining ‗Gender sensitivity‘ as a focus.