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The Louis I. Kahn Trophy: part 2

Posted on: Mar 25, 2013

You would think that we would finally get a break after coming back from the site. But that's not even on the agenda. We start staying in college immediately. People go home in shifts to just grab some new clothes and wash or dispose of clothes from the site. The first week goes into getting all the permissions from the administration to stay back in college, in trying to streamline the work process again. Everyone is busy unpacking stuff and taking inventory. Finally, everything is set and work starts once again in full swing. The only difference here is that we still have to attend the lectures in the morning and work all night. It's impossible at first and we are thrown out of class many times for sleeping in front of the faculty, but I guess even they are aware of this; eventually you start getting used to it.

This is the third and final phase of the LIK trophy. This is where the presentation begins. Now our seniors devote their entire time to 'designing' our panel. This panel is going to be where we will display our 'answer.' The site is supposed to be explained here. This means that all our documentation has to be put together in such a way that anyone who sees our work can understand the site. Thinking about it as merely a representation won't do it justice. It's the basic essence of the site. It's where we put together not only the tangible aspects or what is physically present but also explain the intangible story behind the birth and growth of that same site.

The panel needs to be 'composed' in such a way that all the rules of the trophy are followed. There is a limit on the number of sheets we can use. There are even rules that outline what kind of tools and methods we need to follow for the presentation, and also the permissible size of the sheets themselves. Taking all of this into account, the ones in charge of composition decide on the kind of drawings we need. At the same time, there is also the written matter that needs to accompany these drawings.

There are also the quintessential visits to architects and experts on various fields. More often than not, there is an abundance of data and not many ways of analyzing it. It's like having the pieces of ten different puzzles simultaneously and trying to piece together just one. The architects and experts help us in sifting through all of this and pulling out only those pieces that matter. It's a tedious process no doubt but also highly satisfying (this was probably the first time I started to understand how much fun studying history could be)!

There are two basic teams that are formed once we get back to college. One of them is the 'documentation' team. It consists of all the people who are supposed to actually work on the drawings. Most of the people are in this team. It can actually be considered as the 'manpower.' Then there is the 'analysis' team. It's generally small, has only a handful of people and can be considered as the 'brainpower.' Both these teams need to work in tandem with one another.

The analysis team is one that runs around all over the place trying to put together the puzzle. Those people are also tasked with the actual composition of the sheets. They take all the drawings from the documentation guys and start putting them together in the form of a narrative. The technical drawings can be considered as the mass of the portfolio. The analysis team needs to make many more sketches and conceptual drawings to explain the more intangible aspects. This gels the mass and makes the portfolio more cohesive. Most often, there are no first-years in the analysis team (it's not because they can't do it, but mostly because the most manpower is required to make the drawings).

The seniors in the documentation team start making the 'pre-final' drawings for the portfolio. These drawings are the ones that are traced onto the finals by 'specialists' (working on the final sheet is a prestigious thing and most people are not even allowed to touch these). The pre-finals take a lot of time as they need to be correct in all respects. On the site, we divide it into parts so that we can cover a larger area, but once we are back, the veterans of the documentation team start to re-draw as one. So most of the people are tasked with re-checking and correcting the drawings made on the site. Some first-years are trained to be specialists so that they can help with the final sheets, while some of the seniors are also gearing up for them. When the time comes, there is a team that takes care of the final sheets themselves. Perfection is a necessity. The mounting of the sheets onto the boards that we will work on is as important as the actual drawing itself. The sheets are mostly translucent so there is also the process of backing them up with opaque sheets and packing them up.

All of this is done within the span of one month. During this time, there is nothing else in the world. No friends, no family, no home. Nothing. There's just the work and the fast approaching deadline. Everything needs to be in order before we leave for the convention.

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