Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA) is the professional organization of Nepalese Architects, established in 1991 by a group of enthusiastic architects who represented government, private sector and academia. The main objective of SONA is to protect the rights and responsibilities of Nepalese architects and promote architectural profession in Nepal. SONA has grown over a period of 25 years from a small group of architects, concentrated in Kathmandu Valley, to a nationwide organization with a total membership of more than 1700. SONA has been registered as a professional organization in the District Administration Office, Kathmandu and abide by government rules and regulations strictly. SONA has established its own office space at the Churchill Complex, Sundhara Kathmandu in 2011, supported by full-time staff for day-to-day administration works. As per the statute of SONA, the Executive Committee with 11 members is elected for a period of two years. There are nine thematic committees headed by prominent architects of Nepal. The committees are responsible for organizing events like seminars, workshops and discussion programs, generating opinions on emerging issues and advising the government and nongovernment agencies.
SONA is being invited in several government committees at national and municipal level. Its contribution in drafting building byelaws of Kathmandu Valley, model byelaws for new municipalities and amendment of National Building Code has been noteworthy. SONA is invited by government ministries and departments for providing expert opinions on topical issues. In recent years, SONA is being increasingly involved in organizing design competitions of several buildings and facilities of public importance such as office building for the National Planning Commission, Office Building for Nepal Mountaineering Association, Republic Monument and Republic Tower.
SONA is a member of South Asian Association of Architects (SAARCH) and has successfully hosted the SAARCH Conference in 2001 in Kathmandu. Similarly, it is a member of Architect’s Council of Asia (ARCASIA). SONA has successfully hosted the 17th ARCASIA Council meeting in 2013 in Kathmandu. Both of these events have bolstered the image of SONA in the international forum.
In the aftermath of the earthquake of April 25, 2015, SONA has mobilized its members in rescue and relief operations, debris management, study of the extent of damage in rural and urban housing and public buildings, reconstruction of heritage sites and monuments. SONA is assisting government departments and municipalities in preparing drawings and advising on reconstruction policies and strategies. SONA also collaborated with Nepal Engineers’Association in mobilizing volunteers in conducting Rapid Visual Assessment of private buildings in Kathmandu Valley.
SONA’s long term goal is to establish distinct identity of architects in Nepalese society by establishing architecture value in the society, expanding its membership and coverage throughout the country. It encourages architect community of Nepal to provide quality service with high level of integrity. It will also strive for promoting architectural character that suits our culture, geography and demands of modern society of Nepal. It will continuously work towards the establishment of Architect’s Council in Nepal similar to Nepal Engineering Council. SONA will actively engage in strengthening network with regional and international associations of architects with the objective of exposing Nepalese architects with international architectural trends.
The first meeting to form this association was held in DUDBC (Department of Urban Development and Building Construction) in the office of Ar. Ishwor lal Joshi. Then the second meeting was held in Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus, E-Block. The First Annual General Meeting was held at Hotel Bluebird in B.S.2047. The first elected president of SONA was Ar. Gangadhar Bhatt Halbe; being the first architect of Nepal. This is how the SONA was formed. (Source: Ar. Swarup G. Koney, President, 9th-Executive Committee,SONA).