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Finalist – Marisha Aya

Marisha Aya.

Photo by David St George

Marisha Aya, from the Unitec Department of Architecture, was a finalists at the 2017 NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Awards for her project 'Urban Bhishti'.

Project description

Building on the language of traditional Indian water architecture, Urban Bhishti establishes an architectural infrastructure for the collection, filtration, storage and delivery of water. The project aims to increase social acceptance of collective water use as a sustainable alternative to the increasing commodification of water, and celebrates the ‘sacred and profane’ relationships India’s citizens have with water. This project’s solutions are a kit-of-parts of potable and scalable elements that could be tailored to fit most urban conditions in India. Combined, the elements create functional social infrastructure and provide potable water and spaces for community interaction in both wet and dry seasons.


Marisha’s project was an intelligent and sympathetic synthesis of the provision of essential infrastructure and the establishment of much-needed communal space. The supply of potable water in an Indian city was the occasion for a sophisticated exercise in urban place-making. Marisha’s presentation was coherent and confident; her scheme was underpinned by comprehensive analysis, a clear understanding of context, and sympathy for the needs of a community.

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