The Times of India | Ardhra Nair | TNN | February 10, 2016 |
Pune: Architecture colleges in India have failed to revamp the courses to meet global standards despite the demand. On one hand, officials at the joint directorate of technical education in Pune declared that most seats were taken in architecture colleges offering undergraduate courses. On the other hand, experts believe that India is lagging behind by at least 25-30 years when it comes to teaching new and digital forms of architecture. This year, almost all seats in architecture colleges, offering undergraduate courses in the state, have found takers, said officials at joint directorate of Technical Education in Pune. But architecture colleges as well as the Council Of Architecture (COA) at the centre have failed to revamp the courses to suit the changing needs of the society and world. According to experts, India is lagging behind by at least 25-30 years when it comes to teaching and implementing new and digital forms of architecture available in the world.
“During 2008 summer Olympics in China, I was awed by the bird’s nest stadium, which was huge, but had no columns to support it. Back home, I started asking architects and structural consultants how it was made and nobody could explain the structure. I went to Melbourne for a conference and there they told me about the structure. I realized that India is lagging behind,” said Anurag Kashyap, principal, Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture, Pune. It was in during the 2008 summer Olympics at China that like every one, I was also awed by the bird’s nest stadium. But as an architect, what was more surprising for me is that the stadium was huge but it had no columns to support it. The same was the case with the magnificent ‘Water Cube’, the aquatic centre for the Games. Now I started asking architects and structural consultants how it was made and nobody could explain the structure to me. So I went to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Kharagpur but still there was no answer. I started wondering how no architect can explain an already built structure to me. Then I went to Melbourne for some conference and there they told me about the structure. That is when I realized that India is lagging behind the world by at least 25-30 years in architecture education,” said Anurag Kashyap, principal, Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture, Pune.
As per the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) figures of 2016, there are 117 institutes which offer undergraduate architecture courses in India, when it comes to postgraduate courses, there are only 29 institutes. The number of enrolment also goes down from undergraduate to postgraduate courses (see box). “The world has moved forward, but we still are offering the old basic courses. We are far behind in digital architecture,” said Dhanashree Sardeshmukh, head of the department of digital architecture in BNCA. “When we started in 2011-12, I had only two students, but today we have a batch of 20 with applications of over 100 being rejected for want of seats,” added Sardeshmukh. But architecture in India was not always on the back burner. Many texts show that ancient India was at par with its contemporaries and medieval India was better than most of its European and Middle Eastern counterparts with beautiful monuments like Taj Mahal and Rajput and Moghul buildings to its credit. Even British invasion in India led to building of many renowned structures. But it was the post-modern era that saw a decline in the status of architecture in the country.
Durlav Chandra Saikia, member of Council of Architecture and also senior architect at public works department of Assam, said, “When it comes to postgraduate courses, the choices are extremely limited. With India moving towards smart cities and infrastructural development, we need more architects who understand the space and environmental constraints and design new-age buildings.” But just a revamp in architecture syllabus will not ensure better building structures, said Arvind Kumar Ahirwar, former reader in architecture in National Institute of Technology Raipur, and now the additional director technical education in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. “An architect designs a building on paper, but it is the structural engineers and civil engineers, who actually build it. We need is a revamp of even the structural engineering and civil engineering subjects,” he said. Ahirwar also spoke about the need to have a regulatory body for engineers. “Currently, even engineers are employed as architects and town planners by many municipalities. Even if an engineer does something wrong, there is nobody to take away his licence,” he said. Dona Thomas, a masters student of architecture said, “After I completed my bachelor’s course from Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, I was specifically looking for something digital and unfortunately, I couldn’t find the course anywhere except in Pune. I think there needs to be a better a curriculum which incorporates all the new trends in architecture.”
Architects in India
2016- –83 till now
Total (from 2011 -2016) —- 46,552
(As per COA as on February 9)
Of the 16 cities with more than 500 registered architects, Maharashtra has the highest number with six cities in the list: Mumbai (5,324), Pune (3,287), Nagpur (1,102), Thane (1,029), Nashik (731), Navi Mumbai (713)
Year— Institute——- Enrolment——- Intake
2014-15—– 114 ——5,047 —————10,261
2013-14—– 105——– 4,441————- 8,614
2012-13—— 100——— 3,430———— 7,875
Year——— Institute ——Enrolment——— Intake
2014-15—– 31————— 196 —————1,128