The International VELUX Award is a competition for students of architecture that runs every second year. We challenge students from all over the world to work with daylight as an ever relevant source of light, life and joy. The award is one of the most important global student competitions of its kind.

Submission is now closed. The jury will review the projects in July and the regional winners will be announced in August.

Daylight is a tool: Omar Gandhi Interview

“Think about experience.”

That’s how Omar Gandhi, one of Wallpaper* Magazine’s the top 20 Young Architects in the World, suggests students can incorporate daylight into their International VELUX Award projects.

“Just like in a film or a song, where there is high points and low points along the narrative, think, not only about lighting up an entire space, but to highlight spaces and then think about the contrast as well. Use it as a tool," says Gandhi.

Omar Gandhi - International VELUX Award 2016 for Students of Architecture jury member

Omar Gandhi has quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading young architects with a passion that grew from an educational balance between art and science. A Canadian architect born in Toronto, raised in Brampton, Ontario and currently practicing in both Halifax and Toronto, Gandhi has developed a style of work significantly influenced by the landscapes but also by the people that inhabit them.

Omar Gandhi's work is inspired by landscapes and their inhabitants

“The landscape is certainly a huge factor in what drives the design, but at the same time meeting new people, listening to their stories, understanding their experiences and hearing about their memories,” says Gandhi.

He has studied in the Regional Arts program at Mayfield Secondary School and at the inaugural Architectural Studies Program at the University of Toronto before heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he received his Master’s degree in 2005 at Dalhousie University. Since starting his own firm in 2010, Gandhi regularly hires students to work on his team as part of their university architecture programs and uses them as integral parts of his projects.

Rabbit Snare Gorge cabin

“If you can imagine it being a lab of sorts, a lot of exciting ideas are pushed through students to build models, find forms and experiment. The energy is the most wonderful thing about it,” says Gandhi.

Omar Gandhi is also a sessional instructor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University which allows him to see the future technologies of architecture both at his practice and in the classroom.

Moore Studio

“The future is utilizing technology to develop a more responsive architecture. One that is responding to nature, responding to climate and adapting to be as fit as possible,” notes Gandhi.

He will be in Copenhagen this June as part of the jury for the International VELUX Award 2016 for Students of Architecture which is accepting project submissions until 15 June 2016. Gandhi’s unique view of daylight in architecture involves a visual theme, which can help inspire students to incorporate daylight in their own project submissions.

Harbour Heights

“When we are writing these storylines of what it feels like to walk through an architectural narrative, daylight is a tool that allows us to create contrasts,” says Gandhi.

He will also join the International VELUX Award at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin on 18 November 2016 to decide the overall winners of the Award, which he expects will feature a strong sense of imagination.

“I expect to see things that I’ve never seen before and I expect to see a lot of innovation but more than anything, just like the students that have worked for me, I expect to see an immense amount of energy and excitement.”

By Shaun Weston Nystrom