National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S., is something we have all heard of ever since we had our childhood dream of being an astronaut but, National Association of Students of Architecture, briefly known as NASA India, was established in September 13, 1957, with an idea of providing platform for students of design and architecture to share and enhance their knowledge. As this year’s Annual NASA convention, to be hosted by Marg Institute of Design and Architecture Swarnabhoomi, Tamil Nadu from 25th – 28th of January 2015, comes round the corner and the teams are gearing up to give the final touches to their submissions for various events and trophies, it would be better to know a few details about the NASA India.

The organization’s foundation was laid by following colleges:

  • School of planning and Architecture, Delhi(present headquarters NASA India)
  • Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Shibpur
  • Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh
  • IIT Kharagpur
  • CEPT University, Ahmedabad
  • Sir J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad

NASA now includes students of over 240 colleges from across India, divided into 6 zones. It boasts of being the largest Architectural Student Body of Asian Sub Continent.

To fulfill its motive of providing a platform for enhancing the learning of architecture students manifolds, NASA India organizes the following:

  • Annual NASA Design Competition (ANDC)
  • Seminars, Panel Discussions, Workshops
  • Zonal NASA Convention
  • Laurie Baker Centre workshops
  • Annual NASA Convention

Under the leadership of Ar. Waqar Abid, annual NASA Convention involves 5000+ delegates along with 250 architects all around the globe to help students brush up their skills at various levels.

Now, the editor, i.e. me, is from IIT Roorkee, so I understand it to be a bit natural for me to bring a special spotlight on our team.

IIT Roorkee has been a very active participant in NASA India events and hosted the annual NASA Convention in 1996. The college has been an active participant in the following trophies:-

  • ANDC (Annual NASA Design Competition) – Design trophy
  • LIK (Louis I. Kahn) Trophy- Documentation trophy
  • G. Sen – Redesign trophy
  • HUDCO – Urban design trophy
  • ISOLA Landscape trophy
  • Journalism- Paper Presentation
  • Reuben’s – Academic work presentation
  • Product Design
  • GRIHA – Green building design

Celebrating NASA at IITR is an age old tradition and cherished program. The main reason behind it being that it fills the studios and classrooms of the department with life full of activity. It brings together students of all years to come together and brainstorm various issues and challenges faced by the urban scenario of our developing country. Also it targets research oriented activities to take place and sow seeds of understanding and progress. It livens up the atmosphere and productive use of time, at the same time encouraging students to interact and discover new dimensions hidden in every person.

As a student participating in this activity, one feels the immense importance of team-work and collaboration. One spends days and nights putting things together, researching, designing and the final team submission sheets. It’s a synergy relationship. Although only architecture students take part in the competition, but on the NASA convention or in the Studios, one feels the expectations of the entire college.

This bridges the communication gap between seniors and juniors and encourages mind to look at the problems from various angles to come up with ingenious solutions. And finally when one goes to the national convention hosted by different universities every year, students get to learn and understand the different challenges and ideas invested in this field. A lecture by internationally acclaimed architect inspires young mind, a workshop by engineers open minds towards newer practices and the list goes on.

Christopher Columbus rightly said: “ Man needs a compass inside his heart to guide his way through tough times.” Events organized by NASA at various levels help a student to build up his ‘compass’, his knowledge and motivation. It is this initiative taken by NASA that has led to emergence of many great Architects all throughout India. It is right enough, ‘the other NASA’ is surely building up stars on this planet.

P.S. We would like to wish all the teams Good Luck for their endeavors ahead.