Paving the path for a sustainable career

Paving the path for a sustainable career

Fast-paced growth, global tastes and dominance of technology demand an overhaul in the field of architecture. Sridhar Rajan stresses on the factors that need to to be worked upon to be in sync with the dynamic world.

In this dynamic world of increased technology, improved payment capacities, quick shifts from one style and taste to another and globalised trades, it becomes mandatory that we keep our education system not only updated but ahead of the times.

This applies to architectural education too. Starting from interior spaces, to cities, from products to landscapes, everywhere there is a run for something ‘new’. Only an architect who has been trained with the latest in the trends and nuances of both history and modernism of architecture can take today’s architectural creation to a new level.

In contemporary terms, India has produced some of the world-renowned
architects, who have contributed to the 20th century modern architecture and their creations speak for themselves. Works of Charles Correa, BV Doshi, Raj Rewal, AP Kanvinde, Habib Rahman and Laurie Baker have been recognised worldwide and these icons have remained a big inspiration to a generation of architects of modern India.

The statement, “transformation of architectural education” sounds exciting, but the fundamentals of architecture or “the synthesis of form”, design and creativity, will always remain the same.

A  student of architecture goes through a journey in space and time, from ancient, classical, traditional to conventional and beyond. Having said that, there are enough evidences of how transformation of architectural education is taking place.

The architectural education in India is monitored and regulated by the Council of Architecture (COA), New Delhi, under the purview of The Architects Act, 1972. There are about 387 schools as independent institutions and as departments in engineering colleges all over India. Due to the surge in real estate and infrastructure growth from the early 90s, a number of architecture schools have started all over the country. It has become a difficult task for the institutions to find suitable faculty.

The faculty in any  a rchitecture school play a significant role in building a strong base and platform for learning architecture. The faculty should possess ability to understand, develop and execute good teaching practice, to continuously learn and renew one’s
professional knowledge.

Making way for the new The first architecture school in India, JJ School of Architecture was started in the year 1910. From then style of teaching has shifted from manual to digital.

Drafting, rendering, model making – all come under the purvue of manual work. Software knowledge, Autocad, Revit, Photoshop, 3Dmax, Maya, Sketchup and other such systems require creativity, hard skills as well as soft skills and all come under the purview of digital work. The classical mode of drafting and manual tools like drawing boards, t-scale, manual drafting tools, models made from boards, etc have made space for new-age
computer aided design, 3D models, realistic renderings, walkthroughs, simulation for building response, etc.

There is a shift in the learning exposure too, from books only to books, internet and travel, from traditional libraries to e-libraries and e-lectures. The competitiveness among students varies now from students being motivated by regional benchmarking among students work to international and commercial benchmarking.

Students are exposed to additional responsibilites via developing awareness about the adverse impact of human influence through development. We now focus more on developing a responsible architect as well as a human being who is concerned about nature.

The education itself has transformed from mere schools of thought, to a more open-minded approach. Student work submission is now being done electronically and foreign collaborations have  become easier today. Building standards have a wider range now like the Leed, Griha, IGBC, Regional Building Standards, National Building Standards and Global Building Standards.

Additionally, areas of immediate societal concern, related to our context needs to be also addressed, in our education and government policies.

Architecture needs to be inclusive; and should not remain elitist and exclusive.
After completing five years of course, the fresh graduate has various options to pursue further in the profession. One can go on to specialise in fields like digital architecture, facade management, environmental design, urban planning and design, economic planning, retail design, hospitatility design, product design, production design, para-architecture courses (lighting, HVAC, building services), parametric design, 3D printing, town planning, interior design and project management. The profession also offers almost immediate employment if one acquires the requisite skills at par with
industry standards. You can also take up on teaching option as there is a growing demand for quality architectural teachers in India.

With the paradigm shift towards green and sustainable architecture and
increased focus on concepts like green buildings, smart cities, recycling, water conservation, rainwater harvesting, usage of innovative materials, green roofs,
integrated urban farming prove the fact that the need of architects with
specialisation in these concepts are on an all time high.

Diverse profiles

Architecture-related job profiles in the industry currently are architect,
interior designer, product designer, industrial designer, landscape architect, urban designer, city and town planner, architectural journalist, architectural photographer, architectural critic or writer, architectural software developer, architectural project manager, architectural production designer, architectural conservation, green architecture and many more

To secure a great career in architecture, choosing the right institution is all the more important. Factors like affiliation from a recognised university, approval by approving body, faculty with industry experience, infrastructure (library, studio, labs etc.), placement opportunities, practical training (hands-on experience) and industry exposure, guest lecture, play an important role in shaping a strong academic foundation.

Ability to absorb, understand and use technical data, manage costs, work with diverse people, to combine creativity and imagination are some of the additional skills required for an architect to be successful. Flexibility, patience, hard work, determination, strong
observation skills make an architect stand out from the crowd of mere degree holders.

The Union Budget 2014 calls for a $1.1 billion investment on creation of 100 Smart Cities and significant other investments towards ports, metros and airports. India is expected to emerge as the world’s third largest construction market by 2020, by adding 11.5 million homes every year. This is just one of the indicators about the huge demand of architects in the coming years.

(The author is principal, MARG Institute of Design and Architecture)

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