The Float Project

IAP student design competition

By Ar. Zehra Aziz, AIAP

Institute of Architects, Pakistan Rawalpindi/ Islamabad Chapter decided to hold a Design Ideas Competition for the students of Architecture programs from the schools of the northern region.

A design committee was formed to discuss ideas of a project that was the need of the day but would not tax the students a lot in terms of requirements but instead in creativity.

The objective of the competition was to encourage the students to come up with new ideas and show their design skills within the confines of the conditions of a Design Competition. And all five schools were represented through a total of 11 entries at the time of submission.

Design Committee
Ar. Fawad Suhail Abbasi,
Chairman IAP-RIC
Ar. Faisal Arshad
Ar. Saifullah Siddiqi
Ar. Zehra Aziz
Ar. Rana Atif Rehman
Ar. Maryam Iftikhar
Ar. Acim Hamid

'The Float Project' gave the students the opportunity to design a Float on Wheels that will be a public library accessible on the route that it chooses to take through Islamabad. It was important to understand the mobile nature of the design, its adaptability to the surroundings and the function that it will eventually perform.

It was encouraged to think of activities that have a nomadic nature (continue to travel from one place to the other) and avail the audience to enter or leave like the art of story-telling, the circus, street theatre and road-side vendors; both flexible in nature and able to adapt to any new place in order to survive. The goal is to animate the city of Islamabad with a design that engages the public and promotes learning. A reference list of readings was also part of the brief.

The jury held on 1st December,12 comprised of prominent practicing architects keen to play a role in the education of the profession and have been associated to the schools of the country either as jurors, teachers or visitors.

Jury Members
Ar. Syed Akeel Bilgrami
Ar. Shahid Khan
Ar. Shoaib Malik
Ar. Fauzia Asad Khan
Ar. Ibtesam Peerzada
Ar. Tahir Khattak
Ar. Usama bin Murad (Convenor)

The winning project gained the majority of jury votes by meeting the criteria of the project brief, function and aesthetic of form. The award recipients are Afsheen Javaid, Haniya Javed and Summaya Ahmed of SADA, NUST Islamabad. The design intent for the project apart from the given were 'to explore and enhance the local culture of Islamabad by bringing in new values, attitudes and motives.' They focused on areas of the city 'which are neglected' and 'bring them into use' through user interaction with the form and spaces inside.' The jury found the project well-resolved, the use of light slits in the facade enhancing the experiential quality at night and 'good minimalist' final design.

The second prize was awarded to Lail-u-mah Aftab and Hassam Khan of COMSATS, Islamabad. Their thinking started from 'to encourage all types of people on the street to think outside the box', 'to inspire them, of theirown minds' by making their design evoke the senses in some way. However, as described in their report they later changed the concept to 'waqt ki qadr' by showing an 'object moving in a projectile captured at different instances of time which shows the flow of time and how things change as it passes by.' Light weight materials are used in the project like water proof canvases and aluminium sheets. The library will house books on individual rights of the citizens. Jury members argued both for the project for its interesting sculptural form, light and color study and attractiveness for the public. Vise versa they argued it lacked spatial control and was fragile structurally.

The third prize was awarded to Sara Shahid, Ushana Khan, Tayyaba Nawaz and Faria Raza of SADA, NUST, Islamabad. The girls take the 'tonga' as inspiration. 'It has been the means of transportation for many years taking us back to our roots. The rhythmic movement and sound of the tonga further satisfies to our idea of the music library.'

The jury also decided to award two honorable mentions. One of them for Hazrat Khubeeb of COMSATS, Islamabad for his innovative approach towards incorporating hydraulic technology in the transformation of space in his project.

The second to Sofia Wanchoo, Esha Imran, Tabassum Amin and Aroosha of NCA, Rawalpindi. The transformation of 'space is taking place in a modular grid' where the 'cheiling transforms into partitions, walls into seats and platforms'. However, it fell short on fulfilling presentation requirements of the brief.

In the opinion of the jury, the competition proposals represent a large number of valuable designs and ideas that have provided a sound basis for ensuing discussions. The solutions offered demonstrated a very broad spectrum of ideas, many of which were of good quality but lacked resolve in terms of the architectural language of drawings and models. Perhaps there was not enough time to solve details or the project over-lapped with demanding school work. Hence, the Institute intends on working more closely with the schools in the future to encourage greater participation for such competitions.

The award ceremony was held on the 7th of December2012 in Islamabad Club where the winners got cash prizes, awards & souvenirs while all other participants received certificates. A large number of students were present in support of their friends alongside practicing architects & academia.