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Rethinking Architectural Education Pedagogy

Architectural education comprises of two major components, one is providing theoretical knowledge and the other is testing the same through practical in the form of Architectural Design Studios. The students learn a lot in their design studios and teachers gain new insights while teaching. Traditionally, design studio was based on interaction between student and the Master, where students gained knowledge of design while working with the Master. With time it gradually developed in the form of theory and studio based teaching. The academic course curriculum intends to build skill, depending on developed intellectual capacity of pupil. The course curriculum for each semester should be such that the design studio needs are fulfilled by the anchoring theory subjects. The learnings in the higher semesters should be built over the previous semesters, weaving a hierarchy in the whole course curriculum structure.

Any discrepancies in this hierarchical learning can lead to confusion culminating into shallow understanding of concepts. In order to prepare the students for the professional field and to meet the demands of the current profession, it is necessary to look at the Architectural Curriculum. Over the years various Institutes imparting knowledge in the field of Architecture have evolved as distinct school of thought with their distinctive design philosophy to keep them abreast with the changing trends.
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization – Frank Lloyd Wright.”

History is physically visited through architectural remains. Architecture of any era reflects its culture, lifestyle, technological advancement, etc. Thus this profession carries the responsibility of representing its people and society, addressing their needs, desires and aspirations and leaving valuable cultural assets for future generations. Therefore it is crucial for its education system to be robust enough to produce architects that are critically thinking individuals who are sensitive towards the society and its needs along with responding to the local and global technological advancement and environmental challenges.

In India, the Architecture education is governed by Council of Architecture (COA). There are 465 colleges imparting architectural education in India as per COA as on date as compared to 117 in 2005 showing a significant growth of approximately 300 percent. COA’s vision of architectural education is that it focuses on four important fields in architecture i.e. humanities, Science, Art and Technology. All the institute should focus on that all the subjects which is imparted by architectural institutes should revolve around these subjects. The other areas in which COA emphasizes is that the students should also connect with experts from various allied fields of architecture. The COA also expresses its concern towards “national priorities in the fields of energy conservation, ecology, environmental pollution, protection and preservation of architectural heritage, low-cost housing, urban renewals, rural upliftment, economic development at local and district levels, etc.” and the fact that the profession of architecture should be capable of responding to such needs

Today the profession in architecture has become more demanding as it wants a student to have in depth understanding of designs, awareness, sensitivity towards environment etc. The curriculum structure in India has not significantly change from 80’s and is more or less same everywhere. Today, the information is widely available over the internet. It is more important to equip the students with knowledge rather than information sharing from the internet. It is not just the curriculum but the space it provides the student for learning and broadening their horizons that matter.

Author Ankit Kumar