Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Give concrete shape to your future
The boom in construction activity across the country has brightened the prospects in architecture

Manish Kumar Singal

Architecture is one discipline that encompasses four major streams humanities, science, art and technology by giving shape to concepts drawn from them. It uses the philosophic wholesomeness of humanities, the logical rationalism of science, the passionate imagination of art and the inexhaustible resources of technology.

Architects do more than just make buildings. They are the ones who build our tomorrow by creating part of the physical environment that we live in. Apart from integrating the individual needs of a client into their body of work, they have asocial responsibility too. An architectmust never lose sight of the way in which a buildinginteracts with its environment.

Owing to the rapid changes in technology, the needs of this profession have become much more complex and the scope of work has also increased tremendously.

Wide scope

In recent years, this profession has got a major boost with the boom in our economy and a large amount of construction work being undertaken almost throughout India. It is thus attracting the best talent in the country.

The young husband and wife team of Manit Rastogi and Sonali Srivastava Rastogi, who run the Morphogenesis Architecture Studio, Delhi, and have to their credit projects like the Metropolitan Mall at Gurgaon, the MBD Radisson Hotel, the AEZ Mall at Ludhiana, Cyber Space and Cyber Kids at Chandigarh and a 12-screen PVR at Bangalore, point out that this is the right time to take up architecture as a career.

"Architecture has a very bright future," they feel. There is so much exciting work to be done in this age of rapid urbanisation and technological advancement. Even the level of awareness among clients is much greater than it was in the past, they say.

According to figures available with the Council of Architecture (COA), around 15 per cent of the total strength of architects is serving in different companies spread across 50 countries. Not only developed countries, even the developing countries have a great demand for these professionals to give concrete shape to urbanisation and housing projects.

At present, 30,000 practising architects are registered with the COA and every year, around 3000 students complete this course from the 110 institutions offering it in our country.

This profession calls for originality, creativity, conceptual skills, basic aesthetic values and a holistic perception of people, places, objects and events. Since architecture is a field in which there are constant revolutions and new concepts emerge each passing day, one has to constantly keep updating and be open to new ideas and trends to achieve success, feels Manit, who specialised in Energy and Environment Studies from London after passing out from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi.

Eligibility

Architecture courses can be pursued at three different levels i.e. graduation, postgraduation and Ph.D. Various universities offer this course. The minimum eligibility to get admission in B.Arch is plus two with 60 per cent marks with physics and mathematics as compulsory subjects and chemistry, engineering drawing, computer science or biology as the third subject. The student has to qualify in the entrance test conducted by the AIEEE. To take admission in the Masters programme, it is necessary to have a degree in B.Arch.

Job scenario

After doing the five-year B.Arch course, a person has to register with the COA after which he can take up practice. He can take up a job in a government department or private company or offer consultancy. The remuneration depends upon the job profile. In government jobs, the pay scales are of those that a gazetted officer gets.

Training Talk

The B. Arch degree can be obtained from the following institutes, among others:

  • Chandigarh College of Architecture

  • School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

  • School of Architecture, CEPT, Ahmedabad

  • Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Mumbai

  • Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal

  • Ansals and Habitat School, New Delhi

  • Regional engineering colleges spread all over India

(The list is not exhaustive)

Officials of the COA say that the future in this filed is bright, provided the students do the course from the right institute. "There are a number of institutes offering courses in Architecture that are not recognised by the COA.

"So, even after spending five precious years doing this course, these students do not get registered with the COA and hence can not practise as architects," says Vinod Kumar, Registrar, COA. Students should only join those institutions that are following the norms and other criteria laid down by the COA, he advises.

Specialisations

Architecture has several specialised fields like structural design, urban design, city planning, landscape architecture and interior architecture. Among the emerging areas in this field are retrofitting of buildings, architectural conservation and construction management. These areas complement each other.

Sonali, who has specialised in Design and Housing and Urbanism, sums up the role of an architect thus, "Like the medical field, architecture also requires great skills. But while a doctor's work remains confined to one particular field, an architect's work touches many spheres and requires expertise in all these."

For an architect it is very important to experiment. The more you experiment, the more you learn and grow, she adds.