Vertical Design Workshop

A three day interactive design exploration by the merged batch across three years, mentored by seven invited Architects – Biju Kuriakose, Girish Dariyav Karnawat , Bijoy Ramachandran, Naresh Medappa, Ceejo Cyriac, George Attokaran and Soumitro Ghosh

Soumitro Ghosh

The workshop began with discussions on the chosen book – Invisible Cities
by Italo Calvino, the story of which revolves around meetings between the
emperor Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler and Marco Polo’s
description of the cities in Khan’s realm – cities of delight and desire,
vibrant cities, failing cities and many other that are quite impossible to
imagine..

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On the first day of the workshop, students were divided into 4 groups and
were asked to read through the book and pick city/cities of their choice.

They were expected to extract the characters/texts that define it.

Studio being centred around the idea of abstraction, students were then
asked to represent these ideas in physical form.

“If one is able to capture the spirit of these cities, they can translate
it into any space (architectural or non- architectural) , any form or
scale” – Soumitro Ghosh.

Over the next two days students worked on their ideas ( coexistence of
negatives and positives, instability, reflection and distortion, tension –
emotional and physical) and came up with installations based on the
same.They were positioned at different locations in the school and were
intended to be abstract and free to be interpreted by the viewer.

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mentor's speak

 Mentor Speak:

“The 4 student groups which formed my team worked on their selected texts from the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – texts full of visual images. The underlying abstraction, group and personal insights, interpretation and realization into experiential open ended realization of engaging installations was an intensely fun time successful in building up conversations, common grounds, coming together for objectives and realization of these.

Great initiative WCFA! Thank you student teams, WCFA, the faculty and staff and mentors for the workshop, for the spirit of exploration of ideas and processes around architectural learning. It was a very rich experience.”

Soumitro Ghosh on Facebook

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Girish Dariyav Karnawat

Space is meaningless and empty’ by Ar. Girish DariyavKarnawat.
The three-day vertical design studio hosted at WCFA designed to expose the students beyond the syllabus driven studio projects of houses and hospitals,the intent was well executed in the workshop conducted by Ar.GDK. Initially students were very curious and maybe even a little apprehensive by the one line brief, ‘Space is empty and meaningless’.

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The first day started with the discussion about how we have all lost the child in us and rarely do, we enjoy the ‘work’ we do, and how we are so comfortable within the walls of perceptions we have built for ourselves. As bizarre as all of it sounded studentscould not help but relate. Ar. Girish went on to ask each participant the three things they would not want to do the in 3 days of this workshop.They were completely taken aback by how difficult it was to identify those three things, eventually they all opened up to say they do not want to sketch, draw, have submissions, reviews so on and so forth. The idea was to show the resentment we have developed towards the things we love, because of the rigid structure we work in.
Once he granted all their wishes, they were more agile towards what was coming up. The conversation went on to the future when we have built earth’s entire surface and the have means to occupy the galaxy and such inexplicable ideas. They were allowed to imagine anything and everything, sky was just the starting point, not the limit.
What transpired the next two days was kick starting the earth, humans settling down in space, earth being cut into slices, it was as if they had no boundaries to imagination. Each student had a story with sketches, some made comic strips all without the pressure of submission.
The workshop was like a visit to an exclusive brain spa, completely refreshing. I am sure our students will take the renewed energy through the rest of the semester.

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Naresh Medappa

The 3 day workshop began with the chosen book ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History
of Tomorrow’ by Yuval Noah Harari. The books speaks about an evolved human
species in the future with qualities of immortality and godlike nature. As
part of the workshop, students would have to imagine the kind of
civilisation they inhabited.

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The intent of the exercise was to make students more aware of the human
characters and how they would manifest in the future. To imagine
boundlessly what the future would look like. The discussions revolved
around politics, culture and technology. The exercise was to imagine an
environment of future and present the ideas.

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Ceejo Cyriac

In the Vertical design studio headed by Ceejo Cyriac, Sapience and Homo Deus by Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, were the two books referred to. Students were made aware of the contents of the books through intense discussion and video clippings with reference to the books.Aim of the studio was to make students think deeply into concerns of homo sapiens turning into irresponsible God like creatures and to question the path of technology. “What is the concern to be addressed and how to make the one possible shift that could prevent downfall of mankind?” asked Ceejo to his group of students and made them ponder.

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On the first day Ceejo tried to break the ice with 17 of his students through intense round table discussions and interactions. All the students had a thought to contribute. Groups were made and remade according to the inclination of each individuals thoughts. Some were for benefits of technology, some against, and some were just experiencing the journey. Thoughts put on sheets containing elaborate and condensed narratives along with vivid and abstract sketches. On the second day students achieved clarity on the concern they wanted to pick and through continuous discussions narrowed down to final deliverables. Some groups even worked on models. Overall the journey of individual opinions through discussions and expression of thought to design for a better futuristic society was indeed a very refreshing take in the vertical design.

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George Attokaran

Fireflies at Syrome.
George Attokaran’s design studio was called “Fireflies at Syrome”, Syrome being the magical city where one’s mundane life has a magic associated with it. On the very first day, the studio was enlivened with discussions about the book “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino. The studio was so designed to encourage students to imagine the extra ordinary in the ordinary.

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They were therefore given the context of their design studio which was the forest behind the WCFA campus and were asked to imagine the kind of magical environment they wanted to create there. On the second day student’s developed narratives of their magical world which projected different ideas varying from a sleeping area to a reader’s paradise.
Students where then asked to work in groups to design the city of Syrome where they could visualize the magic that they wanted to see in the mundane human life.

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Biju Kuriakose

This design workshop was shaped around the notions of drawing and abstraction. First day the students were asked to enlarge a given piece of line drawing to 4 times. In this process of enlargement and redrawing, students were looking for patterns, which otherwise seemed very chaotic in nature. Meanings started to emerge from these line drawings, in the process of redrawing them. Then each student picked 3/4 themes running in these drawings. Later it was revealed to them, that 4 of such pieces join to form a large piece of drawing.

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So in a similar condition, the students put together all the 4 models together. Each team of 4 took the drawing to next level of abstraction and suggested a programmaticall condition for these. The line drawing chosen by the tutor, which were the creations by Lebbeus Woods, were revealed to the students only at the end of the workshop, so there is no bias in their readings.

This design workshop was shaped around the notions of drawing and
abstraction. First day the students were asked to enlarge a given piece of
line drawing to 4 times. In this process of enlargement and redrawing,
students were looking for patterns, which otherwise seemed very chaotic in
nature. Meanings started to emerge from these line drawings, in the process
of redrawing them. Then each student picked 3/4 themes running in these
drawings. Later it was revealed to them, that 4 of such pieces join to form
a large piece of drawing. So in a similar condition, the students put
together all the 4 models together. Each team of 4 took the drawing to next
level of abstraction and suggested a programmaticall condition for these.
The line drawing chosen by the tutor, which were the creations by Lebbeus
Woods, were revealed to the students only at the end of the workshop, so
there is no bias in their readings.

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