Career in Architecture – An advise from experts

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Because you have landed up on this page, we assume that you have decided the career of your choice, and, it’s Architecture. Welcome aboard, next five years, or more in some cases, are going to be an adventurous journey for you. It is assumed that you have already gathered the necessary information about the profession and the life that architects and architecture students live. No? Set up an appointment with the best architects in your city, go to all colleges in the vicinity, talk to students, talk to teachers, visit their websites and spend some time at the “college canteen” where you will get some ‘real’ feedback. We have left the job of deciding ‘top ten’ architecture colleges in India to other magazines, we don’t trust. 😉

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/syahmir/6011476001
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/syahmir/6011476001

And, if you wish to see some really inspiring and creative work being done by architects in India and abroad, GO HERE.

Well, there are also reasons why you shouldn’t take up architecture, and you can read some of them HERE.  If you are convinced with the post, you need not read anything beyond this.

But now, you have continued, so we will try and help you with making a decision. 😉

Every year, around this time, many students who wish to join architecture, and their parents, are in the state of confusion, and the toughest question they ask is ‘which architecture college shall we go for?’.

To make it easier for you, we asked three questions (listed below) to some educators and professionals across India. While answers and feedback are continuing to pour in, we are publishing some of the views and comments that we have received so far. We sincerely hope that the advise by experts below will help you take your decision, and we wish you a successful career in architecture.

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Questions asked to experts:

1. Which three factors according to you, shall be considered the most important, to decide on the architecture institute?

2. How much does the popularity (name and reputation) of institute matter?

3. Your advice to those students, who do not get admission in the institute of their choice?

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Now, the advise from the experts:

Prof. Uday Gadkari
President, Council of Architecture, New Delhi | www.coa.gov.in

Uday gadkari, president Council of Architecture, New DelhiA. Faculty, Faculty, Faculty – It may be easier for many institutes to impress you with a lavish infrastructure, but if there’s isn’t a right kind of faculty, you will not learn anything.

Second, exposure to students in terms of study tours, field trips, participation in competitions, NASA etc. play an important role in learning and growth of the students.

B. Popularity, and name of the institute does matter to an extent, as it is an effort of years that has gone into building the reputation. But, some of the new institutes also have a strong vision and they are working hard to reach where popular institutes have reached. Meet the Directors of the institutes in person to know what different they have to offer.

3. Choose the next best, and do your best. Keep in touch with students from other colleges and see what they are upto.

Tapan Chakravarty

Prof. Tapan Chakravarty | Professor and Dean, Sushant School of Art & Architecture 
Ansal University, Gurgaon (Haryana) | www.ansaluniversity.edu.in

A. Three important factors for a good architecture college can be summed up as below:

1. Qualitative Strength of the teaching Faculty Team
2. An Academic Process (teaching, learning, assessment) that is in sync with the subject field. Check this with the current students of the institute and assess their level of satisfaction/happiness.
3. Image of the institute (through its graduates) in the industry.

B. Reputation of the institute does matter, because it gives the graduate reasonable advantage at the entry level of the industry.

C. If you don’t get admission in the institute of your choice, try again next year. At the same time, if you are passionate about the larger subject field or the ‘creative industry’.. there are several alternative subjects/careers to explore and adopt.

Kiran MahajaniProf. Kiran S. Mahajani | Professor and Principal
Aayojan School of Architecture, Jaipur | www.aayojan.edu.in

A. Before zeroing upon any institute, be assured of the quality of education being imparted, faculty & infrastructure. These three factors would provide a positive learning atmosphere.

B. Reputation of the institute does matter to a certain extent, as it is on account if precedence & legacy.

C. If you do not get admission in the institute of your choice, but you are determined to pursue architecture, join the next best, as at the end of day learning & acquiring knowledge is totally in your control.

Salil RanadiveSalil Ranadive | Principal Architect
Salil Ranadive Architects, Mumbai | www.srarchitects.in

A. According to me, three important factors in choosing architecture institute are:

1. Faculty – do they run good practices ? undertake & publish research ? have opinions that they share in the public domain ?

2. Alumni – do you relate to the kind of work (professional/academic) they do today?

3. Good, Stable, Efficient & Transparent Administration, including the Director, Governing Council & Patrons.

B. Popularity matters if it is because the Institute has been successful over time, or is run by people that have been successful over time – then, in general it’s a good thing.

C. Architecture isn’t a subject that can be ‘taught’ in the traditional sense. A good teacher of architecture is one who can inspire & motivate an interested student to tap into realms within oneself. It isn’t necessary that this happens only in institutes that are considered ‘the good ones’. Inspirations come from anywhere. Question is : how interested is the the student ?

Ujjwala ChakradeoDr. Ujjwala S. Chakradeo | Principal and Professor
W.E.S. Smt. Manoramabai Mundle College of Architecture, Seminary Hills, Nagpur, Maharashtra. |
www.smmca.edu.in

A. Three factors which matter most in choosing the architecture college:

1. First and foremost is the number and quality of faculty members.

2. Philosophy of school and social outreach, approach towards students

3. Placement and opinion of alumni towards college.

B. Popularity and name is not related to learning and matters only to satisfy one’s ego.

C. Don’t be disappointed, choose the next best, because architecture can be learnt with self motivation in any institution.

Manoj MathurProf. Manoj MathurHead, Dept. of Architecture
School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi | www.spa.ac.in

On three factors that are most important for any architecture institute.

1. Location 2. Location 3. Location. Conrad Hilton said this about the secret of a hotel’s success and almost for the same reasons it applies to an architecture school. 1. A good school thrives on availability of good faculty, preferably in practice or research, besides teaching, and that is likely in a big-city location.

2. To observe different facets of life as it lived as you go about your everyday work is one of the most seriously useful off-campus tools of architectural training and this is most likely in a big-city location.

3. To be wired to the latest developments though vendors’ demos, seminars and conferences and visits to architects’ offices and building sites is a necessity to transit smoothly from being a student to a practitioner of Architecture and this is only possible in a big-city location.

It is a complete waste of time and money to be studying Architecture in a school that sits on converted farmland somewhere in the countryside, however shining the infrastructure might be. It will never have these three important things.

B. Popularity of any institute does matter a lot but not as much as the work you actually do. A renowned school builds its reputation of strength of its students’ output. If students resort to doing ordinary stuff, the reputation plummets in no time. So, whereas the reputed school would be expected to produce excellent students’ work generally, it cannot be said that unknown schools would not have a few exceptionally good students. A big name can help in opening a door for you but no one offers a chair if your work does not impress.

C. If this is your chosen arena go for it anyway. Today it is a connected world. Stay in touch with what your batchmates in other schools, including the one where you could not get in, are doing. Interact with them. NASA convention is only one of the ways to do this. Check how their learning approach is different from yours. If it seems better, you can try to bring in those values to your school also. If you find resistance to change in your school, do not despair, you can at least change yourself! Eventually your work will speak for itself.

Trilochan ChhayaProf. Trilochan Chhaya | Dean and Professor
Balwant Sheth School of Architecture, Mumbai | www.nmims.edu

A. Three essentials for a good architecture institute as suggested by Prof. Chhaya are:

1. Institute must have an Internationally exposure, must be Diverse and faculty shall be future friendly

2. Constantly upgraded infrastructure and resource centre

3. Leader with evolving concepts.

B. Popularity follows the name and reputation, which is build with an open and achieving school. At some point of time, it does matter.

C. Don’t stick to only one option, there are always 2-3 best options in most of the cities.

Prashant PradhanAr. Prashant Pradhan | Principal Architect
Prashant Pradhan Architects, Gangtok | www.pparchitects.wordpress.com

1. RIGOUR to develop the required skills

2. FREEDOM to develop them at the individual pace/style/manner

3. EXPOSURE to other related fields

On reputation, Prashant shares:

“Institutes work hard to build a reputation hence, it definitely matters. More than the institute, its the people – staff and peers who make up the institute – so to be in their company will only go to develop you.”

And, in case you don’t get into the institute of your choice, he advices,

“Try to keep yourself informed – through the net and other social media etc. Attend lectures whenever possible and try and, most importantly, join an office which offers you an institute type of environment to learn. The hiatus between the academic aspect of architecture and the practice of it, grows deeper and students are completely ill equipped with the reality of building. Therefore, no matter what institute you study in, make sure you intern and work at an office where you can be exposed to different facets of the field.”

 

Anil KumarProf. Anil Kumar | Director
Gateway College of Architecture, Sonepat | www.gateway.edu.in

A. Infrastructure, Faculty and the Head of the Institution are most important factors for any architecture institute.

B. Architecture learning much depends on individual students’ capacities. Reputation and popularity matter only at the time of admissions.

C. Each institution has some good things, exploit that. Visit other institutions to be informed about happenings beyond your own institution. Keep abreast with architectural happenings through journals and Internet. Thank your stars that you did get admission in architecture even if it is not really in the institute that you wanted. You will still become an architect. Prepare yourself for the real world instead of cribbing and complaining about this minor setback. It may be a blessing in disguise.

Jaisim KrishnaraoProf. Krishna Rao JaisimProfessor and Principal Architect, Jaisim Fountainhead Architects. Representation at Council of Architecture, New Delhi | www.jaisimfountainhead.in

A. Good Mentors, Serious Infrastructure and Inspiring Spaces, count as most important factors for any architecture institute.

B. Jaisim shares that ‘Institute’ is not a good word, yes, reputation does matter but in architecture it should not.

C. If you really understand what Architecture IS, just join any School anywhere, and put in your involved initiative and be self inspired, you can do well and reach your dreams, The school and staff would give you space and freedom and with a smile hold your hands. Schools cannot and must not teach, they are only spaces of learning.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Ayub Patel says

    Architecture as it was practised is a dying profession. Now we have a LOT of onterference from wannabe architects, frustrated politicians and the likes in government and municipalities that will all prescribe design guidelines to you. The world needs to be deprived of architects so that the morons in government, especially planners, who think they know better, realize what kind of talent they have killed. Though good buildings get made,the thresholds of appropriateness of a building or place in the context of meaningful architecture have been eroded by cybernetics. Architecture has now become the handmaiden of technology rather than vice versa. My advice : Dump architecture and let it die. Take up a more rewarding profession where the rewards are based on your objective performance rather than subjective creed. Architecture does not need schools to be taught. Schools should be teaching human psychology, construction and technology with emphasis on creative thinking. Architecture is creative engineering. Design cannot be devoid of engineering or social intelligence. It is not an art in the baser sense of the word. Architecture is an aspiration. One can learn design through exploration like Tadao Ando, once a wrestler, and now deservingly a successful architect did. Jorn Utzon should have been the most revered of architects even today, yet less sensitive and less deserving ones took that prerogative away from him. So also Aldo Van Eyck, another underprivileged master. So think before you choose this career of ambiguity. It was and can still be a great profession provided the masses do not underestimate it. Unfortunately, the masses of today are more informed but less educated, more intelligent but less wise. Think…..!

  2. Vipul Raj says

    How do planners kill talent?
    Just a question (and nothing else) that caught my mind, after reading this!

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