Project Feature: Peace Centers

In this AIIS feature, we explore the student projects created in Amar Sawhney’s Design 4 course in the School of Architecture at Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest community college. Professor Sawhney participated in the AIIS and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers’ (CAORC) 2019-2020 Faculty Development Seminar: Exploring Urban Sustainability through India’s Cities and created a course on architecture and design inspired by the seminar themes.

Amar Sawhney is graduate of Cornell University and has taught at Miami Dade College for more than 46 years and has also taught at Cornell University and Boston Architecture College. Much of Professor Sawhney’s work has been focused on global conditions of the city. He has taught architecture design and sustainable courses in Western and Eastern Europe. He also teaches courses in India on urban development and sustainability.

Peace Centers Project

The Design 4 course asked students to visualize a project in which they were aware of their surroundings in terms of environment, culture, religions and conditions of cities. Built environment influences our cities in terms of environment, employment, justice and quality of life.

Students were asked to research cities that had been designed from scratch. Students overwhelmingly chose Brasilia and Chandigarh as the main cities for their projects. The significance of Chandigarh was well recognized in the students’ research, as (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret) Le-Corbusier designed the plan of the city from scratch in 1957. 

Corbusier was inspired by Harappa, an ancient town in the South Asian subcontinent. The class selected our project site to be where Corbusier designed the capitol complex in Chandigarh, India.

At the site of the capital complex, students were asked to design spaces where all religions can coexist and showcase their principals and concepts. Students were asked to research the tenants of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism and design spiritual gardens and public spaces so that people from different faiths can interact and coexist.

Students work was reviewed by a panel of jurist and they selected the best projects among the 25 projects were submitted.