Since pre-historic times, water, the world's most important natural resource along with the air we breathe, has been responsible for the birth and death of civilizations. Its strong relationship with culture has manifested itself over millennia in varied forms of all scales and types. In the Indian subcontinent, water acquired a deep spiritual, religious and philosophical meaning across cultures and religions. Rivers and lakes with ghats, pools and ponds inside forts and gardens, stepped wells, and tanks in religious recincts are some of the historic manifestations of water which are deeply revered in Indian culture. These examples have also been a great source of visual pleasure and delight, where water has not only enlivened places but infused new life in whole settings.
Water has intrigued designers over the last two centuries or more, inspiring them to come up with new and innovative approaches towards its meaning in landscapes all over the world.
Water has been an integral part of traditional practices of natural resource management across all regions of India, conserving its quantity and maintaining its quality. However in the last century, rapid population growth and unchecked urbanization, coupled with top-down development and insensitive planning policies and design approaches have caused great stress on our water resources. Today, polluted rivers, encroached-upon ponds, clogged drainage channels, defunct drainage systems, depleted ground water, diminishing natural recharge areas, have all contributed to deteriorating water quality across the country.
The Competition invites students to explore contemporary and aesthetic manifestations of water at different scales in the Indian context, that reflect contemporary attitudes towards design, enjoyment, interpretation, health and well-being, and most of all, conservation keeping in mind its utmost value as a natural resource.