We continue our discussion on ‘Architecture – Disconnected?’, inviting the opinions of Prof. Nalini Thakur from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi – and she approaches the issue from an institutional angle, talking about how the academic setup can – and must – play a role in bridging this gap.
Architectural profession in India is lost and in crisis. I would not credit this distancing to a conscious decision – instead, it has been drifting with no substance or direction. We lack the ability to keep pace with rapid change; we have no leadership or vision, to inspire or guide us. Most of all, the institutions have failed the profession.
I do think it is a post-colonial impact on all of us. The information we absorb in architecture schools is totally irrelevant to our culture, only suited to our colonized status in the past – leading to a state of confusion. This has resulted in our inability to build a relevant cultural knowledge base rooted in our indigenous context. Such a base is necessary for us to imbibe learning that we can integrate with our design problems.
For recovering from this crisis and closing the gap, the starting point is education. The leading institutions must take on the responsibility and attempt to do the needful, and set an example. Also, individual architects should focus on carrying out quality work – they cannot take on the big problems of the profession on their shoulders. There are specific roles and responsibilities for each person/agency.
We are talking about a new paradigm in architectural education – the post-colonial context. We as teachers can take on a part …Let us start.