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11th Birla White YuvaRatna Awards focus on skills and sustainability

World Cement,

The 11th edition of the Birla White YuvaRatna Awards took place on 14 February at the Hotel Renaissance, Powai, Mumbai. The awards are an annual event that recognise budding talent among architects and civil engineers. This year’s event was inaugurated by Mrs Rajashree Birla, Director of UltraTech Cement Ltd, in the presence of eminent architects and construction professionals from across India.

Organised by Birla White (the white cement brand of UltraTech Cement), the theme of this year’s awards was ‘A skill based learning environment with sustainability’. Students were asked to design a basic learning space, residential and recreational facilities for primary students and the faculty. They were also asked to include accommodation for 50 orphan students in the campus.

Participants were encouraged to develop their programme and space requirement with an emphasis on skills-based development. This was the major aspect of the programme and was a significant part of the evaluation criteria. This proposals had to include learning centres, spaces for experiments, library, a refreshment area, and workshops. The design was also expected to focus on all major aspects of sustainability.

An elite panel made up the jury for this year’s awards, including leading architects such as Ar. Niraj Doshi, Ar. Avinash Dahanukar, Ar. Praveen Bavadekar and Ar. Sagar Pankhaniya.

“There is a need to define skill based learning environment by considering all the major aspects of sustainability. The gap between theory based education and skill based development is what needs to be bridged. In the present context, education is not merely limited to textbooks, but also encompasses recreation and overall development. This was our thought behind the theme of ‘A skill based learning environment with sustainability’ this year. The students’ enthusiasm and wholehearted participation and the independent judging processes have become the cornerstones of this competition. This competition acquires special importance in the current context where India is heading towards creating a large number of Smart Cities and therefore new themes every year make the competition exciting and innovative,” said Mr Rahul Mohnot, CEO of Birla White.

The first edition of the awards was held in 2004, with the quantity and quality of entries increasing each year. This year’s entries included 937 drawings from 87 institutes across India. The entries from five regional zones were shortlisted and then judged at the national level by jury members in order to shortlist the national winners. Planning, concept logic, space utilisation, material application and 3D imagery were the primary criteria behind the short listing of entries.

“Over the past 25 years, Birla White has evolved to become the trusted brand in white cement and allied products for architecture and the construction industry. Relentless focus on sustainability and innovative products is the major growth driver for the success of the brand. Sustainability is at the core of our themes at the YuvaRatna Awards, and we will continue to promote green building practices through these awards,” stated Mr O. P. Puranmalka, Managing Director of UltraTech Cement Ltd.

“The theme for the 11th edition is grounded on a relevant subject. It is both timely, and brings out the best among the children. It principally connects with true education, i.e., formation of character, broadening of the intellect and forming a positive attitude. I am delighted to see the blueprints that seem to create the kind of environment that precisely stokes curiosity and wonder. In fact, many of them reflect contemporary aesthetics that blend with earthy materials. Away from the din and bustle of urban life, when you watch these architectural illustrations, dotted with greenery, a kind of serenity exudes from them. I congratulate all the winners for this remarkable display of talent. I am sure they will do well in their chosen field. My fervent hope is that in the years to come some of these budding architects come close to the stature of world renowned architects,” added Mrs Rajashree Birla.

Adapted from press release by

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