Perfect mix of history and architecture

Perfect mix of history and architecture

Perfect mix of history and architecture

We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us. This famous saying is currently relevant to almost every city’s history. The built environment of a city determines the culture and lifestyle of the population. The profession which studies this built environment, its character, and culture is called as architectural history. Its popularity and option as a professional career is new, but is gaining fast momentum due to increase in awareness on heritage and protection of our cultural landscapes.

India is a land of rich cultural heritages and built environment is a true reflection of the country’s history. This environment comprises of buildings, languages, food, textile, life-style, landscape and other natural elements. The conservation of cultural heritage will need a professional, who has the knowledge of the building characteristics along with an expert understanding of historical values. The exposure through this course paired with historical techniques and technology in built environment will make this profession the most sought after career in architectural offices, various government departments, including the Archaeological Survey of India.

This field involves job opportunities in central and state government cultural and tourism departments, including archaeological departments, map making departments, education departments, and museums and so on. What more, an architectural historian can also get the opportunity to work with conservation architects, documentary film production houses and artefact collectors. The main job profile would be to help identify, research and ultimately protect historic resources.

To become an architectural historian in India, one can pursue postgraduate degree in architecture or anthropology or museology. Easiest option is get in to MA in architectural conservation, after completion of bachelors in architecture. The University of Kolkata or Madras gives options to gain MA in conservation or museology. Such degrees give more choices to secure good options in government agencies. Other options are specialisations in preserving architectural material, conducting historical tours, performing extensive research and publishing books, or fundraising management for conservation activities of NGOs.

National Museum Institute, a central institute in Kolkata, offers various options at post-graduate levels to become an architectural historian. This could easily get an employment opportunity with historic preservation or cultural heritage societies. Organisations like Dakshinachitra, Chennai, provides one-year diploma programme for art and architectural history lovers to gain post-graduate knowledge and widen career prospects.

For professionals like architects, urban planner or historian, this specialisation is an ideal choice. United Nations is showing keen interest in bring many culturally and historically significant buildings and landscapes of India in to World-Heritage list, for which architectural historians play major role to prepare dossier and plans. Hence, one should be optimistic in choosing this as a career option.

(The author is professor, MARG Institute of Design & Architecture, Swarnabhoomi)

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