Building a career
every building is an architect, making optimum use of space
and resources and with an eye on the best aesthetic appeal.
A lot which goes into making a building what it is. It is
not just laying bricks upon bricks and giving it a plaster
and a paint job. It means patience, co-ordination and continuous
hard work. The same holds true for anyone aspiring to be an
architect, it takes years of dedication and determination
to carve a niche for oneself in this highly competitive market.
There is lot more to becoming an architect than acquiring
A prospective architect must have a architecture-specific
degree, a degree in civil engineering does not qualify you
to be an architect. The basic qualification is a five-year
Bachelor of Architecture degree that can be furthered with
a two-year Masters programme. Several schools and universities
in the country offer courses in architecture.
The best, of course, is the School of Planning and Architecture
(SPA) in New Delhi. SPA offers full-time programmes in architecture
as well as planning and Masters' level programme in architecture,
building engineering and management, landscape architecture
and planning. Other sought-after institutes are National Institute
of Design, and School of Planning, both based in Ahmedabad.
With modern technology having made inroads everywhere, most
students master Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programmes. Most
of the designs are now worked out on the computer, instead
of the traditional pencil and line methods. This saves time
and also means fewer people on the rolls. In an age when downsizing
is more a rule than an exception, it is good to keep pace
with the times.
A number of IT educators, like Aptech and NIIT also offer
CAD courses. "The market is very tight and it is important
to be the best. CAD definitely gives you an edge," says Subir
Prasad, a freelance architect.
A number of universities in Australia, UK and the US also
offer degrees. The University of New South Wales in Australia
offers scholarships too, like the Ronald Lu Travelling Scholarship,
the Wightman Postgraduate Scholarship and the Woods Bagot
Having completed the degree and/or Masters course, architects
cannot immediately branch off on their own. Most learn the
ropes as a trainee or apprentice with an established firm.
Any school would hone your design skills and teach you management,
but architecture is not just about design. It also means coordination
with electricians, plumbers, building materials suppliers,
carpenters and contractors. It might sound easy on paper,
but good architects needs to know all this. They also need
to be resilient and adapt the design according to a client's
wishes. A design has to be worked and reworked several times
before it is accepted by the client. Then comes the hard task
of implementing the design. Most architects work in harmony
with the contractors to ensure that work matches the plans.
Initially only exceptional architects get to design an entire
building on their own. Most begin with independent designs
of a corner, a closet, lighting or air conditioning and then
graduate to designing entire floors. It may sound disheartening,
but it takes at least a decade to get involved solely in designing.
But once a professional gets recognised, there is no looking
back. Some work as consultants with big national and international
projects, others go into teaching, the lucky ones who have
lots of capital start their own firms. Some also specialise
in environmental planning, housing or urban planning.
With urbanisation spreading its roots and housing needs increasing
everyday, students of architecture have a lot of options.
Any architect would tell you there is money in the private
sector, but there are opportunities enough for those looking
for a secure government job. There are ample jobs in the Public
Works Departments, Municipal Corporations, town planning as
well as transport departments. "Once you've picked up the
basic symmetry you can get into designing different products,
not just buildings," says Kiran Sohal. an SPA graduate who
now specialises in private houses. So if you've dreams of
following in Howard Roark's footsteps, avail of the above
tips and they needn't remain castles in the air.