INVOLVE is a step further towards Singapore Polytechnic’s key core value of holistic development of students. It was an initiation by School of Architecture and Built Environment (ABE) in collaboration with Clay Club Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Ahmedabad and CEPT University Ahmedabad, India. It was a 14-day workshop organised for the Diploma in Architecture (DARCH) students, with intent to provide opportunities to the participants to immerse in a different environment and culture. The focus was towards hands-on activities and understanding the tectonics of basic materials such as clay and paper. An out-of-classroom experience that strengthens the student’s sensitivity towards the materials and hence architecture.
As part of the workshop each student composed a clay tablet and learned the different techniques of making, kneading, handling and firing the clay. Further to this, they learned to applied glaze on their clay tablets and fired at a temperature as high as 1200°C. While the tablets were cooling down for the following 36 hours, the students got involved in handmade paper-making. They learned the process of paper-making from the banana stem. They further experimented with watermark and threading techniques to make paper collages.
The trip also included visits to many different places of interests ranging from heritage temples and palaces to modern and contemporary buildings in and around the city of Ahmedabad. Some of the key heritage visits include the Siddi Sayed in Jali, Bhadra Fort, Jami Masjid, Pole Houses, Modhera Sun Temple and Adalaj Ni Vav (Stepwell) . Students also visited the works of Architectural Masters – Le Corbusier and Louis Khan. Sanskar Kendra the city museum and ATMA building are two of the four buildings design by Swiss Architect in the city which the students visited. Along with that the visit to the IIM campus was valued as it reflected a deep understanding of its architect Louis Kahn. Students also visited the works of local architects such as B.V. Doshi and Charles Correa. The Gandhi Ashram designed by Charles Correa gave the students an opportunity to get close to the philosophies of the Great Mahatma Gandhi.
Further to this, students also took a 2-day detour to the city of Bhuj, to visit the significant architectural palaces such as the Prag Palace and the Vijay Vilas Palace. However, the key attraction was the Great Rann of Kutch - the unique white sand dessert. Students also visited the nearby tribal villages that specialised in different handicraft items and products.
Overall, the students enjoyed the experience that helped them to look beyond the stereotypical image of India. They appreciated the food, culture and warmth they received from the locals. Their visit to the CEPT University and the new friendship found with the Clay Club members was something that the students would always treasure.