KU Student's Winning Entry for the ARCASIA Student's
Architectural Design Competition

karachi university student

The Architects' Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) is a Council of the presidents of the national institutes of architects of seventeen Asian countries that are members of ARCASIA. Every alternate year, an Asian Congress of Architects (ACA) is hosted by one of the member countries of ARCASIA. Parallel to the ACA is the ARCASIA Architectural Students' Jamboree at which student representatives from the seventeen countries meet to exchange ideas, discuss, debate and celebrate. They also get to attend the Congress sessions and official Dinners and have the opportunity to mingle with the region's leading architects. The Jamboree is organized by the host institute under the aegis of the ARCASIA Committee for Architectural Education (ACAE).

The 14th Asian Congress of Architects (ACA-14) with the theme, "GO GREEN - The Architecture of the New Order", was hosted at Lahore by the Institute of Architects, Pakistan (IAP), organized by its Lahore Chapter, from October 26-29, 2010. The ARCASIA Architectural Students' Jamboree was held concurrently. In connection with the Jamboree, IAP organized the ARCASIA Students' Architectural Design Competition 2010, in conjunction with ACAE. The competition was open to 3rd and 4th year students of all the architecture schools that are accredited / recognized by the respective Institutes of Architects in the ARCASIA countries.

Participating students were required to design a "Children's Resource Centre", an interactive, fun facility that educates the 21st century child on issues of ecology and sustainability and the preservation of related traditional knowledge and indigenous technologies. The site for the Resource Center was to be identified by the students as a corner, or a portion, of a mature public park in their city. The area of the selected portion of the park (the site) had to be between 2000 and 2500 square meters and could be of any shape with existing physical feature(s) and contours that were to be respected as far as possible in the design proposal.

The Program for the Resource Center was as follows, with the total built-up area restricted to 700 square meters in one or two floors
a) Reception/Congregation Space
b) Display/Exhibition Area
c) Library/Resource Room
d) Audio-visual room (for 75 children)
e) Cafeteria
f) Toilets
g) Administration& Maintenance Offices Participating students were expected to present their design through.

a) Photograph(s) of the site
b) Site Analysis
c) Concept Development
d) Site Plan
e) Floor Plan(s)
f) Sections/Sectional
Elevations
g) 3-D Views
h) Any other material that would supplement the above submission requirements.

The first, second and third prize winners were decided by an international jury. The first prize went to Tahwer Mohibullah, a 4th year student of Architecture at the Visual Studies Department of Karachi University.

Tahwer's theme for the Resource Center was 'Recycle-Reuse-Reduce' and focused on indigenous techniques and crafts, such as weaving, which could reduce wastage by utilizing by-products that are normally discarded. One such concept was the 'architectural and industrial usage' of the coconut tree. In his presentation, Tahwer discussed the various possible usages of the components of the coconut tree, such as using coconut trunk for house construction; using coconut leaves for weaving sacks and mats; coconut husks for weaving ropes etc.
His program for the center distinguished between different age-groups of children, suggesting activities such as coconut plantation for young children and workshops on weaving etc. for the older group.

Tahwer also based the form and planning of the Resource Center on the spiraling form of the coconut leaves, which corresponds to the Golden Ratio, and suggested various components of the tree as the primary building materials, giving further credence to his basic concept.