City School of Architecture



The Asia Young Designer Awards (“AYDA”) was first launched in 2008 as part of Nippon Paint’s vision to nurture the next generation of design talents across Asia. The event serves as a platform to inspire architecture and interior design students to develop their skills through cross-learning opportunities and networking with key industry players as well as fellow architecture and interior design peers in the region.

AYDA has since grown in terms of reach and stature and has now established itself as one of Asia’s premier design award across 15 countries namely Bangladesh, China and region of China (Hong Kong & Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

This years’ design theme was how human centered design can be used to solve problems in Asia. With more than 8,000 entries submitted to this year’s AYDA International, the participants had undergone a rigorous refinement and mentorship process. The first stage is to select a national winner from each country amongst so many entries submitted by students from all Architecture and Design schools under Architectural category and Interior category. In Sri Lanka Ironi Padmaperuma and Dilik Abeyakoon from CSA were the National winners under Architecture and Interior Design Category respectively. After a series of discussions by the two panels of judges, 13 participants from the Architecture category and 10 participants from the Interior design category were selected as finalists, across all the national winners in the Asian Region. The two students from the City School of Architecture (CSA) Sri Lanka were in the short-listing, and were selected as winners in the sub category, “Nippon Paint Colour Awards"

The AYDA 2021 International Finale award ceremony was held virtually on the 8th of July 2021 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm (+8 GMT Singapore Time), and was sponsored by Nippon Paint.

The distinguished panel of judges for the Architecture Category were:
1. Arash Ahmadi - Founder, Ahamdi Studio
2. Daniel Lim - General Director, RSP Architects
3. Lillian Tay - Vice President, VERITAS Design Group
4. Sibarani Sofian - Founder and Director, URBAN +


The distinguished panel of judges for the Interior Design Category were:
1. Chu Chih-Kang - Founder and Creative Director, Chu Chih-Kang Space Design
2. Hideji Kanamori - Director, Super Potato
3. Jabeen Zacharias - Chief Architect, Jabeen Zacharias Architects
4. Joey Ho - Design Partner, PAL Design Group
5. Peter Tay - Founder, Peter Tay Studio


The CSA Students won the below Sub Category Awards:
The Nippon Paint Colour Award for the Interior Design Category (worth a cash prize of 1000USD)
Mr. Dilik Abeyakoon – Project : Journey through Zero Waste to Energy Plant


Nippon Paint Colour Award for Architectural Category (worth a cash prize of 1000USD)
Ms. Ironi Padmaperuma – Project : Sustainable Co – Living Community Hub

The event concluded upon congratulating the winners.




Mr Roven Rebeira, a Final Year student of the City School of Architecture (CSA), was awarded a commendation in the Silver Medal category at the Royal Institute of British Architects, Presidential Awards 2016.

John-Paul Nunes, Head of Education Projects of the RIBA sent his congratulations on this outstanding achievement, which makes the design project, ‘Centre for Ethno-Elephantology: A cross-species design initiative’, one of the best out of 275 entries received from 87 Schools of Architecture in 33 countries. The only other two entries which received commendations in the Silver Medal Category were from The University of Westminster, UK and Aalto University in Finland.

During these awards the RIBA also gives credit to the design tutors, who tutored the winning student, and Tamara Wijepala and Samanthika Piyasena from CSA, accompanied Mr Roven Rebeira to London on 6th Dec 2016 to receive the award from Jane Duncan, President of RIBA.

At the Award ceremony RIBA President Jane Duncan said, Quote: “congratulations to each of the medal winners. I am delighted to see the breadth of talent from across the globe recognised through these awards, now celebrating their 180th anniversary. The students’ ability to detail complex ideas and present them beautifully is outstanding. Tonight’s winners are talent to watch - I can’t wait to see what else they will go on to achieve”

The project aims at blurring the boundaries created by human cities. It attempts to soften the edges where cities meet animal habitats and create a symbiotic relationship between different species, namely the Human and the Elephant. This is done through the design of a deployable system on the edge of habitats which is adaptable as resistant human dwellings, non-harmful deterrent mechanisms and symbiotic spaces catering to both species.

Roven Rebeira explores how architecture can create symbiotic environments for both humans and wildlife at the sensitive borderland areas where cities meet animal habits.

His Project, the centre for Ethno-Elephantology, focuses on the co-existence of elephants and humans at the Udawalawe Nature Reserve in the South Sri Lanka.

‘The Fundamental exploration in this project was to deconstruct the notion that architecture is simply a vehicle to address the series of needs of the “human animal”,’ he says. ‘Can Architecture in fact respond to the needs of other animal species?’

Rebeira used research on elephant behavior, biology, habitats and social structuring to inform the design of the research centre and surrounding landscape, with particular attention on finding an alternative to the electric fence as a way of controlling the human-animal habitat interface

Construction is accompanied by an awareness programme to show local people, who currently feel threatened by elephants, how they could benefit economically by the new approach. This would use the style of architecture to limit damage caused by elephants to farming and homes.

Buildings are created using earth bag layered construction with bamboo as the roof and support structure. A domed form was chosen because it distributes the force equally and so performs better if attacked by an elephant. It also references the temples and granaries of traditional Sinhalese culture.

A new Model village for researches and other visitors is proposed between the centre itself and the nearby fishing community.

Other strategies include providing corridors for elephant migration, edged with a ‘living’ fence of durian and Palmyra trees, plus the planting of deterrent crops adjacent to the fence

A condenced version of nature reserve, with similar landscape conditions, is provided for rehabilitating orphaned elephants before their return to the wild.