Architects of Change: Empowering Students to Transform Communities

GITAM School Of Architecture Launches A Vertical Design Charette, Night Studio For Greening Rushikonda Beach

Visakhapatnam, July 2023: The School of Architecture at GITAM (Deemed to be University) is revolutionising architectural education with its innovative approach by launching a Vertical Design Charette, where the students from all the semesters of B.Arch and M.Arch (except the 1st Semester) collectively come forward and work towards understanding and improving their immediate environment. Under this initiative, students participate in a Night Studio on a set theme, where they work on theme specific projects from ideation to providing creative solutions.

This year, the spotlight shines on “Greening Rushikonda Beach,” where students will engage with a diverse range of environmental stakeholders—ecologists, urban designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, sociologists, and more. Through meticulously planned lectures and workshops, students will uncover the hidden layers of Rushikonda Beach and its surroundings.

Students will collect and analyse insights from users of various ages, genders, social and cultural backgrounds, as well as tourists. The multi-layered study empowers students to craft thoughtful and inclusive designs that resonate with the community.

“Students of architecture are well placed to transform their immediate environment through proactive community engagement. This will enhance their sense of ownership towards their city. Bringing live projects to the studio will amplify the relevance of the discipline. The design charrette is structured vertically where students from all years unite to work on ideas for the transformation of the Rushikonda Beach, and learn from the contextually and culturally rich location of Vishakhapatnam,” said Dr. Vibhuti Sachdev, Dean, GITAM School of Architecture.

With an array of departments and abundant resources available on the vibrant campus, GITAM embarks on this multidisciplinary approach, where architects and students alike contribute their expertise to foster a sustainable future. Every Wednesday, aptly designated as Design Days, students across all batches immerse themselves in the art and science of Architectural Design within their dedicated studios. But the excitement doesn’t end there. Following their scheduled academic studio work, students from all batches converge for a unique and ongoing initiative called Night Studio.

This Vertical Design Charette, launched on World Environment Day, held its first Night Studio on 5 July, 2023.

At the Night Studio session, students embarked on a thrilling journey focused on a specific theme, delving deep into projects from concept generation to imaginative problem-solving. Recognizing the pivotal role architects play in shaping our world, both in terms of constructed and natural environments, it is essential to instil awareness of the evolving needs of society and the environment. This unique initiative creates an interactive learning ecosystem, uniting aspiring architects with experts from architecture and allied fields.

“We firmly believe in the power of design to transform society,” said Sribharat Mathukumilli, President, GITAM (Deemed to be University). “Night Studio provides a dynamic platform for our students to apply their knowledge, engage with real-world issues, and create innovative solutions that positively impact our communities,” he added.

The chosen themes encompass a wide spectrum of social importance, ranging from sustainability and urban renewal to inclusive design and community development. By embracing these critical issues, GITAM’s Night Studio serves as a catalyst for architectural exploration that transcends traditional boundaries and nurtures holistic design thinking.

This Charette creates an opportunity for the students to understand how they can see design beyond built spaces in time. Especially understanding the temporality in space and design are important and many times, designed public spaces go out of control or repurposed for different uses due to the lack of involvement of various stakeholders in the design process.

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