Tuesday, August 31, 2004

COURSE CHAT
"An architect must combine technical & creative skills"

Rajnish Wattas
Rajnish Wattas
Principal,
Chandigarh College of Architecture

WHAT are the emerging areas of architecture in our country?

The major emerging areas in Indian architecture are essentially in the realm of high technology — the kind of 'imagery' that you get to see especially in the shopping malls and IT parks of the big cities. While these are commercially driven, profit-oriented projects that are creating a new vocabulary of urban architecture at the national level, the other areas of great concern are: energy-efficient buildings/green architecture; ready-to-build shelters for people hit by natural disasters or other shelterless people; buildings for earthquake-prone areas; and low-cost buildings for the economically weaker sections.

Besides, there is also a great demand for landscape architecture.

What does it take to be a good architect?

To be a good architect you essentially need to have comprehensive knowledge — a fusion of technical and creative skills. The five-year B.Arch course is, therefore, structured in such a manner that on the one hand, the students are imparted essential knowledge about the basic technology that goes into making buildings, and, on the other hand, they are made to do exercises for the development of the creative faculties.

What will the job prospects for architects be in the next five years?

The job prospects are likely to be very good because the building industry is on a high boom with group housing and development of urban commercial facilities (shopping malls and multiplexes etc.) getting a major thrust and the surge in the development of IT parks etc, on the industrial front. Also, it is not only the big towns that are economically resurgent, but the engines of growth are also visible in the middle-category towns like Ludhiana or Pune, to name a few.

What is the future of Indian architecture?

The sky is the limit. But architects also need to be sensitive to their national and social obligations and do something for the underprivileged sections of society, both in the urban and rural areas. They can take the help of government agencies as well as NGOs.

Why should a person take up this career?

The most significant reason is that unlike in purely technological courses, in this field you do not get 'dehumanised' and become just a 'cog in the machinery'. This profession gives you a holistic personality as well as job satisfaction.

—Chetna Keer Banerjee