GSEN BRIEF 2022-23

Water-less or Water-more [Design radical ideas for extreme scenarios]

Poster design by Elangkumaran S.

Our world is experiencing climate change and we are already beginning to confront extreme climate uncertainties and water volatility. In the recent past, there has been an increase in outbreaks of drought and flooding, which has affected many major cities around the world. For instance, the acute water shortage in Cape Town, led to the world watching the ‘Day Zero’ crisis unfold. Similarly, recent floods in Chennai, Bangalore or Jacobabad (Pakistan) and drought in Latur has highlighted the major vulnerabilities cities could face in future. Further, as cities become more urbanised, the increase in impervious surfaces only exacerbates the problem by reducing ground water recharge or increasing surface water runoff.

These situations, depending on the context, have led to some cities experiencing depletion of ground water reservoirs, shrinking fresh water sources or increase in flash floods. Thus, thinking about water systems (whether with less or extreme flooding or the flux) is inevitable in the coming years.

So this year’s GSEN brief challenges young designers to imagine ideas of combating or embracing such extremes or uncertainties. We want participating schools to propose visionary and radical ideas for tackling any of the scenarios- drought or flooding to mitigate the risk.

In your chosen context and scenario, to respond to the brief, you are free to imagine mechanisms of any kind such as retrofitting water infrastructures or designing new devices to tap fresh water. Similarly, you could think of creating porous sponges or wetland systems in urban areas to mitigate floods. You could also imagine completely utopian solutions or new spatial formations (like living in inundated zones) where systems of living are futuristic to combat the extreme situations. Make sure your architectural infrastructures or spatial settings are detailed and well-crafted to give your proposal strength and realism.

With regard to the site, there is no limitation (could be a neighbourhood in the desert, or in a coastal belt, or an actual neighbourhood from your city). Using the context, build a case for what you are addressing in relation to the theme (drought or flood) and develop coherent solutions. The scale and details can depend on the story you are building as long as you are able to convey the intent and design clearly for the extreme situation chosen.

We want inspiring visions that tap into new possibilities or trigger discussion on transformative ideas addressing an uncertain future to a resilient one. We also want you to think outside the box and bring contemporary solutions through architectural and spatial innovation that tackle issues of water-less or water-more in this age of Climate change.

The project should be expressed within TWO (2) A1 size sheets.
Sheet 1:
Should contain- concept, plan, details of the project and short text (up to 200 words) to explain the project and scenario being addressed
Sheet 2: Compelling strong views of the architectural and spatial innovations to address the theme. (2-3 views)
The project visuals should also be expressed in 6 Digital Postcards of 210MM X 210 MM (square) with little or no text (limit to one line for explaining the visual).

The clear articulation of the scenario – waterless or water more – reflects thematic clarity
Innovative architectural/ urban solutions drawn with precision to address the concept
Designs able to translate the ideas into clear spatial strategies that are visible in plans, sections and 3d views.
Overall visualisation and communication of the project.

Prize money of Two lakh Rupees is allotted to the trophy and it will be divided according to the number of the Citations and Special Mentions.

Release of Brief: 14th October 2022, Friday
Registration Deadline: 28th October 2022, Friday 1800 hrs IST
Queries Deadline: 02nd November 2022, Wednesday 1800 hrs IST
Submission Deadline: 7th December 2022, Wednesday 1800 hrs IST

Failing to comply with any of the guidelines may lead to disqualification at the discretion of the executive council.

Online Submission
Original Copy of Authentication Letter
Original Copy of Declaration Letter
Editable Format of the Sheets (Applicable if shortlisted)

Maximum One (01) Number of Entries Will Be Accepted Per College.
Queries can be put forward through the trophy page on the website (
Registration should be done by the Unit secretary in NASA India website before the registration deadline.
Registration of the trophies will be final and cannot be changed or withdrawn henceforth.
All the entries should be uploaded separately during the time of online submission.
Late Registration and submission will not be entertained and henceforth the defaulters shall be disqualified.

Moderator and Authors
The Moderator for GSEN Trophy for 2022-23 is Mansi Shah (Adjunct Assistant Professor, Urban Design, CEPT University) and the brief is co-authored with Chandrani Chakrabarti (Program Coordinator, Landscape Architecture, CEPT University).

Any form of communication from the participants to the Moderator/Authors/Jurors will lead to disqualification.