Post Report / Sep-18-2016

Text: Anju Maharjan (B.Arch. IV/II)

Photographs: Shirshak Baniya (B.Arch. IV/II)


2nd National Architectural Exhibition was the program organized by SONA (Society of Nepalese Architects) on 15th September – 17th September, 2016 with the theme ‘Architecture for Us’ to make public aware of role of Architecture and Architects in the society held at Nepal Art Council, Baber Mahal. The program events included work exhibition of Nepalese young architects and students, Talk program on “Continuous Professional Development” and Panel discussion on “Issues and Challenges in Architecture”.



Speakers:  (Left – Right ) Ar. Biresh Shah and Ar. Debesh Raj Bhattarai

  1. Ar. Debesh Raj Bhattarai

The supporter of contemporary architecture and green technology, also an Executive Officer at Society of Nepalese Architects- Ar. Debesh Raj Bhattarai delivered his thoughts as the first speaker on the event.sona-exhibition-shirshakbaniya_0735

He began his speech with the materials, professional ethics and essence of contribution of architects and students in national social actions. He added his words with the examples of durbar squares, Rani Pokhari, Dharahara and urban open spaces, their significances, misuse and present ignorance of concerned authorities.

sona-exhibition-shirshakbaniya_0746The spaces which aimed to serve the community are in their worst condition in the name of reconstruction and conservation. He drew our attention to the concern of architects against such disastrous way of conservation with the case of Ranipokhari and Dharahara.

Leaving behind the unique expression of architecture, honesty to materials, these structures are being designed and built in the name of (replica) visual satisfaction and development. He further encouraged that the voice should be raised against encroachment of open urban spaces, by the government itself to erect high rise commercial building neglecting the respect of built environment and value of urban space to stop the fading role of architect in the process of haphazard development.


Mr. Bhattarai continued with some examples of international contemporary revolution which shows architecture is adding value to the lives of people rather than just creating footprints and facade designs.

First example was a story of Iranian architect Leila Araghian who was only 26 when she designed and won the international competition of Tabiat Bridge. The design of 270m long bridge, connecting two parks with the concept of Bridge as a place to stay not a path to simply pass. The city authorities trusted her although she was young and without much experience that made it possible a design on the piece of paper to be actually built one day. A young woman architect’s design was trusted, encouraged that resulted a longest pedestrian bridge of Tehran country with three levels with cafes, gallery, restaurants and seating areas.


Second example was Vertical Glass House of Professor and former head of MIT Architecture Department- Ar. Yung ho Chang in Shanghai, China. Vertical Glass House is a building with enclosed walls and transparent floors as well as roof, the house opens to the sky and the earth, positions the inhabitant right in the middle creating a place for meditation. Vertical Glass House is material: Vertical transparency visually connects all the utilities, ductworks, furniture pieces on different levels, as well as the staircase, into a system of domesticity and provides another reading of the modern theory of “Architecture as living machine.” It took 21 years to build that house.


He concluded his words saying this is how we contribute to the system involving values and creativity. The current system of need of degrees of qualification in every sector to start a project is killing the creativity and potentiality of Architects. Therefore, sharing of ideas, gatherings and these kind of talk programs would help to encourage and lead the community ahead.

  1. Ar. Biresh Shah

 Ar. Biresh Shah, a great contributor in Nepalese modern architecture and urban design and planning proceeded with his beliefs.  Architecture is driven by the society and building is the expresser/ artifacts. He carried on explaining the role of architect as creative problem solver, interior and exterior environment creator blending nature. Mr. shah emphasized on honing confidence and capabilities of the young architects.

sona-exhibition-shirshakbaniya_0765It is necessary to revive the respect for local resources, techniques and abilities than just documenting them.  Context, sense and integrating nature should be considered with modern construction. Regular interaction, sharing ideas among the architects is the effective way to understand the evolving issues and guide young architects in professional development.



He familiarized us with the project of South Asian University (SAU) which was achieved by wining international design competition in 2013 A.D. for proposals of master-plans and designs for its new campus in Delhi.

The team’s master-plan envisions a congregation of 12 faculty buildings in the proposed campus -meant to house inter-disciplinary research centers, library, convention and administration centers, a cricket pitch, and a football ground, according to Mr. Shah. The premises will also have accommodation facilities for over 5,000 students and 400 faculty members and staff. Architect Shah explained the process of design phase to design approval that took for two and half years long along with issues raised in between.


Further, Ar. Prajwal Hada presented some photos from  Z Axis conference 2016 which was a tribute to the memory of Charles Correa. Sir Biresh Shah shared his reviews of the conference held in Goa, India enlightening on some of the speakers of that event.

Architect Prajwal Hada sharing his experience of  Z axix conference held at India.

Some of them are:

Sandeep Virmani, his contribution to built thousands of homes in Hunnarshala, Kutch with the local participation modernizing the techniques of building with earth, wood, stone and bamboo were described.

Rahul Mehrotra, principal of architecture firm RMA Architects of Mumbai, his concept when traditional meets contemporary resulted as a green tapestry of seasonal plants for facade for a KMC building in Hyderabad were displayed.

The talk program was followed by interaction section where audience got chance to put their questions to the speakers and organizers. Ar. Kishore Thapa, President of SONA , Debesh Bhattarai and Biresh Shah responded to the queries and confusions of the audience and fellow architects.


The event thus ended with the hope of conducting more talk shows in future.

More picture of the talk show is available here.

Click on the image for better resolution.


Data source on South Asian University (SAU):

Stay connected with this blog for the detail post report and photographs on 2nd National Architectural Exhibition.