Open letter to the President, Council of Architecture

50

Dear Sir,

We know you must be feeling the tremors of the fiasco that the CoA’s logo design competition has turned out to be.  And yes, this letter is about the same. The council of architecture has been called the supreme governing body in the affairs of architecture: education and practice. This is a position of great power and immense responsibility. One of the reasons of establishment of the CoA was the welfare of the architectural fraternity in the Republic of India and in the pursuit of this goal you must have decided to commission a logo for architects and hence the design competition came into the picture.

Sir to begin with, the use of word logo vs. symbol has always been a matter of debate among designers. While the debate may not be settled yet, but the widespread practice is to use the word symbol in cases when the graphic is to be used as a representation of a professional fraternity. Well, let us not sweat the small stuff and come to the primary concerns. In my short experience of having known about the existence of the CoA, this was perhaps the grandest event that the council has pulled off. Congratulations for that.

Coming on to the launch ceremony event page, the less it is said about the graphics and posters used, the better. An organization that represents the finest creative minds of the country, using child like graphics throughout the promotional campaign was unthinkable. But given the state of the CoA website, we shouldn’t have expected at all, we accept our fault.

Coa India Website
Screenshot of the CoA website as appearing on Google Chrome

As details about the competition were released, we got to know about the involvement of 3rd parties like Archipidia and ZIngyhomes. The first thought that would come to a sane mind would be that these people would be sponsors, and contrary to the wildest and most hilarious of imaginations these parties were made advisors and fee collection vehicles on behalf of the Council. And that too an outrageous fee of 1000 rupees per entry, a practice usually adopted in competitions such as Gully Cricket Leagues, where you have to pay a fee per match per player. Though, on receiving complaints this fee was marginally reduced. Thank you for the consideration.

All details and future communications in reference to the competition were to be done on an email ID that didn’t even end on “@coa.gov.in”. What age is the Council living in, if this isn’t a conflict of interest, what is?

Student organized college fests are far better managed in terms of communication, management and execution and exploiting sponsors. If you find this hard to believe do check the promotional material, websites, guidelines and negotiation with sponsors for events like Rendezvous (IIT Delhi’s annual fest) or Oasis (BITS, Pilani).

We are guessing that you must have found these advisors very competitive people to be able to handle such an event. When one of the members of the fraternity raised concerns the nature of the reply by the Honorable advisor was exemplary. “Please take help of someone who understands English and online registrations”.

CoA Logo Competition
Screenshot of mail received by one of the members of the fraternity.

I would take a break here before I go ahead. “In the meantime, if you are a Shopper and like photography, participate in our #RetailShopDesign”.

CoA Logo Competition
The results display page on Zingyhomes

If the sole idea of the exercise was to increase traffic on the ZingyHomes website it would have been better to provide discount coupons on the Council page.

All this is, when CoA is a body that formulates policies and guidelines on:

Architectural Competitions

Endorsement and advertisements by architects (almost prohibited)

Nevertheless, people could have forgiven all this including the goof-ups with the dates, but then came out the results. 3 joint winners for a logo competition that has to be adopted as a universal identity of architects in India? This must be a joke that we couldn’t probably follow. Moreover, you don’t call an event a launch ceremony, where there are joint winners and the final logo is yet to be decided.

If these 3 are the finalists, we can only imagine what an ordeal it must have been for the jurors to go through the other entries. Whatever the case may have been council must be happy that this made council trolls trend on social media and WhatsApp (historic event).

CoA Logo Competition
Trolls trending on Social Media and WhatsApp

Would love to mention some of the adjectives used on social media for the winning entries: “laughable at best’, ‘doctors would be laughing’, ‘cartoonish’, ‘childish’, ‘total disappointment’, ‘demeaning’, ‘pedestrian’ etc.

It would be in the best interest of the fraternity and the council that the logo competition is called off. It may be re-commissioned after deliberation on the very need of the logo. In case you decide not to give up on the quest for a logo, it should be conducted in a manner that is transparent and sensible, under the guidance of people who have in the past managed such events.

Thanking you,

Voice of the fraternity through Pulkit Soni

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50 Comments

  1. shekhar says

    if architect logo will be like that, than others what will do, such as funny hahaha

  2. Aditi Banka says

    (y)

  3. Debashish Majumdar says

    Well said. .hear hear! !

    1. Pulkit Soni says

      They aren’t known for hearing. I hope they do, this time.

  4. Kaushik says

    I have given up on COA long time back!

  5. K. Prasanna Pandian says

    I have more points to be added.. though this is pinching enough to call off the logo. But if it continued to force us with such nonsense, I mind not to shred my council certificate.

    1. K. Prasanna Pandian says

      *I do not mind to…

    2. Atul Dave says

      Agreed

  6. Navi says

    Just a small piece of suggestion for council..
    Reorganise the compitition without fees.. and keep away the third parties from this compitition… also there should be open voting for the winner…

    I am sure there are many creative sould out there who can give the fraternity a true logo to represent…

  7. Anil Jain says

    Me too Gave up long ago.

  8. Umesh varma says

    The highly learned jury selected the most childish logos purposely. They clearly wanted to pass on the message that designing a logo as important as this is not a child’s play and only one of them would have been appointed to do the job. Why can’t all the entries be loaded on a public domain for people to understand how true is my above mentioned statement.

    1. Pulkit Soni says

      I support the idea of all entries being shared on public platform.

  9. J J says

    I am not surprised at the low stanfards that our COA has fallen to. Granting approval to tens of new schools of architecture in the Delhi NCT area is outragious and will lead to lower standards than the already low standards prevalent in arch education.
    I thank Pulkit Soni for expressing his disappointment so very well consostant with my own thoughts on this dubious competifion.

  10. Krishna says

    If the so called winners have little shame they should honestly return the prize money / trophy / certificates etc to the COA. Do some self introspection guys…..be honest to yourselves…..

    1. Pulkit Soni says

      I would disagree here, the finalists were selected by the jury, they didn’t impose themselves on anybody. The problem is the notion that one had to be selected when nothing was up to the mark.

      1. Amrut K Deshmukh says

        Dear Pulkit,
        Do you really belive that these are the Best Entries out of ‘1200’ entries actually received. I am very confidant about our fraternity to generate spectacular design!

        1. Pulkit Soni says

          Given the credentials of the jury members, it is a hard to digest situation, that the members selected sub-standard entries.

        2. umesh varma says

          Is the number of entries officially announced…1200…?..a post by the admin of zingy homes had claimed the entries to be in thousands….

          1. K. Prasanna Pandian says

            That was again a great question mark!! It is said that 1430 entries were received.. why can’t the entire country of entries punched online immediately to keep transparency. The thumbnail of what we send was not there. No place to explain our concept. There are two sets of rules online. One on coa site is along with a letter from the president. And the other which is slightly modified and latter uploaded or replaced several times during the contest at a 3rd party site without the date of modifications. I rushed to the last date of submission, later after submitting three entries I found the date was relaxed to 10 more days..

        3. Krishna says

          I am sure there were better entries than the selected ones, India has great talents, and they have been deliberately ignored or rejected ….reason better known to them

          I have seen so much talent in student competitions in Arch colleges, even if about 25% of 1200 entries were students, there would be better logos than these. I am talking about students , professionals will of course be much better

          COA has insulted not only Indian architects but creative community in general. SHAME ….SHAME….SHAME…..

  11. Ruchi Tandon says

    Really appreciated and very well written

  12. Yashika says

    Very well and rightly said by Mr. Pulkit Soni . The shortlisted logos are not acceptable at all and the design competition should be reorganized in a more sincere manner.

  13. Amrut K Deshmukh says

    The Objection is not about just How Inappropriate the Winning Entries are?, but also how casually the whole competition was held.
    Multiple Postponement of entire schedule & lack of clarity about how the Final submission should be.

    Absolutely no possibility of this logo to be chosen as Professional Emblem.

  14. Ashok Goel says

    कहने सुनने का कुछ बचा ही नहीं ।
    अशोक गोयल

  15. Harsha says

    Pulkit soni….u r amazing

  16. Rekha Mahesh says

    Architects are shamed by these logos. I am not against the artists who sketched what they believed in or thought about who an architect is or what an architect does, but I am really amazed that the people in the jury team are with no taste and have risen upto that level??? is it again an SC/ST reservation category I wonder!!!

  17. SHASHANK MANE says

    JUST KEEP THIS MATTER AND ENTHUSE OF ORGANIZERS ONLY FOR AND TILL COMPETITION LEVEL AND ITS RESULT ONLY, ,,,,,,,KINDLY REQUEST TO COA, ORIGINAL WORDING “CA” ON SITE / LETTER HEAD IS MUCH MORE BETTER AND BEST THAN THIS “FINAL WINNERS STUFF”…………
    AGREE THAT WE”ARCHITECTS” NEED OUR IDENTITY ….RED CROSS ON VEHICLE – PEOPLE RECOGNIZED “YES IT’S BELONGS TO DOCTOR” ..PROFESSION OF MEDICAL DOCTOR AND RED PLUS SIGN THERE IS NO RELATION IN ACTUAL, BUT NOW IT’S IDENTITY …..
    “THOUGHT PROCESS FOR HAVING LOGO FOR IDENTITY – LIKE IT .. OUTCAME ….. IT’S JOKE” …. BUT …… COA WALO ARCHITECTS KA STANDARD SAMBHALO ……… JANE BHI DO “LOGO” “COA” – “CA”… “ARCH” ALONG WITH “ASHOK CHINHA” (Face of Lions) AT LEAST MAKE SOME STANDARD……
    COA SAYS “Architecture is a social art that touches all human beings at all levels of their existence everywhere and everyday. This is the only discipline, which encompasses the four major fields of human endeavour : Humanities, Science, Art, and Technology, actually putting into practice the professional inputs drawn from them. In sum, Architecture is the matrix of human civilization – an authentic measure of the social status, and an evocative expression of the ethos of an era. When conserved, it is heritage and when in ruins, it becomes archaeology, reconstructing tell-tale pictures of the past civilizations.

    1. Pulkit Soni says

      Haha, interesting suggestion and co-relation of the Lion emblem to the description of architecture.

  18. Sushant Sudhir says

    I bursted into laughter after I saw the finalists. No offence to the creators, but I thought it could have been much better.
    Simply, I can’t digest it….. 😛 😛
    CoA ….. Just don’t give that to us…. Plzzzzz… We are gud without ur stupid logo.

  19. N Ramaswamy says

    I feel the competition need to be conducted in a transparent manner among architects as these present so called logos are really befitting to be accepted

  20. umesh varma says

    A small suggestion..
    1. All entrants form a forum
    2. Force them to make all entries public
    3. All entrants vote for10 entries of their choice except their own, after entrants attach their concept to their entries.
    4. Select top100
    5. All entrants vote again for 3 entries of their choice and select top 10.
    6. Hold an event where 10 shortlisted hold open debate in presence of remaining top 90 and a COA appointed jury of 10.
    7. All 100 people vote live for 1 of their choice with 1 mark and 10 jury members having 5 marks each and announce the winner.
    To begin with, let Pulkit head the forum.

  21. Amit Patil says

    If these are the standard of logos been shortlisted after a “so called” design competetion, then COA should also be renamed to “Childish Organisation of Architects”.
    Sorry to say so but the enteries selected are totally demeaning,disturbing & would bring a bad name to the council. This land of Correa, Doshi & other greats can surely produce much much better results. Jury i hope you are listening……..!!!

    1. Umesh Varma says

      Imagine Correa carrying one of these logos on his business card

  22. Pradeep Pavithran says

    As appalled as I am with the shortlisted logos representing Architects I am equally confused with the need to have one. The original idea of doctors carrying a logo on their windshield or anywhere else is to identify one in an emergency. Soon other professionals like lawyers followed suit if only to inflate their already inflated egos. We don’t need one. We wear our egos to work everyday.
    Coming back to the design competition I have given up on the CA long back. So one should not be surprised by the three logos. It just represents the vacuum that CA is. If registration of architects is their sole responsibility any babu in Delhi can do so. Look at the no of Architecture colleges sprouting up every year under the CA’s watch. All you need is a garage and a couple of post grads and the CA will give you permission to run an Architecture college.
    I sincerely hope this logo competition is disqualified and the CA stops wasting their time and ours in pursuit of such endeavors.

  23. Rajesh says

    They should return the money collected for the competition, along with penalty of ( say Rs 5,000 ) for wasting the time of creative people and humiliating them.

  24. Shashikant Nishant Sharma says

    This letter is in the best interest of National Orgnisation like COA. Visited first time the COA site and found the comment of the author fitting.

  25. ankur says

    They should give back our money. .it was only a medium of money making. ..and super big sponsorship to its so called third party zingy. ..
    If they are not capable of conducting a fair competition. ..then they don’t have rights to make fool out of people like ths…
    It’s really shame. ..

  26. Vijay GARG says

    Relevant issues raised. My compliments to Pulkit.

  27. Karandev Singh says

    NASA body could have handled the whole thing better

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