Architecture juries are one of a kind, and everyone who has gone through them has stories that are worth sharing. As my thoughts get clarified here in the order of consequences that unfold the most unanticipated/anticipated day, one can find themselves hidden behind those initials, facing the jurors on their judgement day. 

Jury and its idiosyncrasies - Sheet1
©Nakshi Shah

The night before the Jury.

As the night falls upon, panic sets in. A few, still in college, while some independently settled within the comfort of their homes, away from the anxiety of the overloaded studio. While Pink Floyd and Tame Impala found their way in college, some were listening to Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar to entertain their parents who would be ever ready to lend a helping hand.

N is one of the comfortable ones, with parents surrounding her making trees and figuring out how to stick perfectly a contour file whose lettering has gone indecipherable with the scaling. Her unspoken pact with U stays in place as she would soon be delivering 1:200 scaled skinned humans, which demanded to be put into a bath before one could strip them down bringing them to their original complexion. 

Jury and its idiosyncrasies - Sheet2
©Nakshi Shah

For a fact, everyone knew that A would be sleeping in peace, thanks to “diligence” we all knew he would probably breeze past the next day. V was twerking away in the studio with half a model still left. S stayed untroubled because he knew something would stay incomplete, while D streamed Suits and sipped on his 7th cup of tea. 

2 hours before the Jury.

With a chilly dawn setting in, N’s caffeine intoxicated body could hardly fathom that she had put herself in a spot yet again, she still had to get her sheets printed. The overdependence on technology sometimes bothered her; even the sheer wastage of paper did too.  Nevertheless, there was no complacency allowed in this field, they said “less is more” but during juries, more is everything. She put on her crisp white shirt hoping to cover up some bonding chemical bloodshed that occurred in her model. 

N, U, V and S met at their usual printer shop, clinging to their printers, hoping the C, M, Y and K stuck to what they presented on their laptop screen. Soon, their sheets were unfolded bringing all the theories and narratives out, in odd abstractions of plans and cross-sections. 

Jury and its idiosyncrasies - Sheet3
©Nakshi Shah

N felt proud, till that moment was crushed by a missing North line but she decided that was mendable. Even the Adobe cousins crashing on her didn’t seem to bother her for more than 20 minutes, the north line was a kind friend. While V stayed unbathed still, he spoke if he would even make it to his jury cause he had forgotten his dear Pendrive which held everything that needed to be printed. 

30 minutes before the Jury

With the winds blowing away U’s model twice, she managed to only take 5 rounds till everything reached and settled them in their temporary showcase of apparent productivity. S was found running in search of H, he knew all about the lists and who would have to go in first. The hierarchy mattered too much to some and too little to another, but N and U preferred being in the middle. As the list was stuck on doors, voices started shuffling, echoes and distant waves of laughter took over the liminal space of corridors. Amidst all the jargon, S was heard snoring.

Jury and its idiosyncrasies - Sheet4
©Nakshi Shah

In this transient existence of something in between running here and there, shifting models and rolling sheets, the deities, our jurors walk in with a stone-cold look, that leads to a few bated breaths and a phenomenal entry sequence by V who somehow made it just before the jury started. As people divided themselves up into groups, they represented intimate family gatherings talking on how the foremost ones will do. A few calls for last-minute printers lost Pendrive cries and push pins made the scene chaotic and amusing. 

It is time.

To wait. To make sure of straight lines and wonder how R made a 25m long panel, that held the potential to knock over not just the deities but anyone over. Quite literally. It was time to let push pin pricks indent your palms and let rolls of paper fall on your face as someone tried to hurriedly pin their panel up. It was an event that took place with great pomp, the worn-out t-shirts and slippers were replaced with formal shirts and shoes. The hustle was still intact as we clambered our way up the list as it moved on. 

It was finally N’s chance which came with a fleeting and frivolous moment of panic and a dried throat. She had made a meandering camouflaging nature trail along a river in a tiny village, blessed with history and ecology. The deities, first impressed, appreciated the sensibility and suggested minor details then suddenly turning like mercury in a thermometer, suggested if the trail could be a zoo and an aviary with the visitor’s centre having a few stuffed animals. Bawling, N defended the idea of freedom, blending in and just occupying a small space within nature but then the deities convinced-unconvinced moved at the lack of the site plan, forgetting the carefully stuck contours of the site model. N just thought it would be better if it were a physical model but alas, here, extra work is the way to go. Anyhow, it was over before N knew it. 

Jury and its idiosyncrasies - Sheet5
©Nakshi Shah

The deities made so much sense and then not at all – sometimes she wondered if improvement was needed in the implementation or in how we approached our choice of direction. How really should one understand critique? Was it just another opinion or a sugar-coated order? U, V and S also wondered the same. But somehow all the thoughts moved to nullity too soon as N was forced to remove her sheets as it was then T’s chance. 

N and U rushed to another class for U’s turn – and as she started, voices died down, and all that one could hear were a few juniors figuring what software was used. V decided to take a photo of U’s phenomenal work but things didn’t go as planned. He pressed the button for too long and that resulted in an emergency SOS alarm ringing that soon led to him and his phone both finding themselves on the floor. The deities seemed ignorant so that worked out. 

N and U then decided to be spectators for the rest of the day – finally putting down all their worries – now all the words and the patter dropped behind them as now everything being spoken seemed repetitive, just different voices each time. S was even found sleeping by the deities as C spoke, but C spoke a lot. The deities now conformed to timers so they could liberate themselves sooner, some students excited and some worried because how can a ten-minute dialogue ever be enough for what rinsed the life out of them for four months. 

Anyway, V was satisfied with his jury and D ended the Suits finale by finding some process models in junior’s classroom, concealing them with some little correlation to the “first final” design he had thought of, making the storytelling more circuitous.

Done? Done.

S was done at last, so N, U, V waited like sleep-deprived zombies till they could celebrate with some food. N, U and V also had to answer the countless indeterminable arduous questions – “How was it?”; “How were the deities?” – they did not know if it mattered anymore, but they said it was alright anyway. S had the best work, but the incompleteness always put him behind in the race. We all hoped he would finish on time, the next time. They all returned to a studio that was hijacked by a persisting unreality of inhabiting a proposed space, arisen by the act of forty well-created meanings. 

©Nakshi Shah

They all soon dropped the hasty makeshift components of their acts back on their first day of the new semester, replacing the formality with trite remarks on T-shirts – back to a twerking, a new season of Suits and new resolution of printing the sheets on time. And as they would move ahead with optimism and an endlessly curious mind towards the next jury they would meet at the usual print shop with major anxieties and minor consequences and refute what the professors say, “A thing in motion is better than a thing at rest”, I conclude by saying that we all could do with some rest.


Nakshi is a recent architecture graduate from BSSA, Mumbai who thrives on the visual and the literary. With a special interest in graphic design, urban design and research, Nakshi is deeply interested in culture, poetry and music. Born and raised in Mumbai, she is often found scrolling through random newsletters or searching for vinyl and erasers to add to her collection