The School of Architecture was established in 1962, at the time when the country was going through a transformative phase and a whole generation was trying to find new forms of environment that would show the future of a fast developing society. These aspirations and ideas get reflected in this curriculum, as it lays bare the realities of the country, its future challenges and priorities. It is a curriculum that imagines an Architect as a central figure in this society with not only professional technical skills but with sensitivity towards people, culture and the environment. The first part of the curriculum is a statement defining the discipline of Architecture itself, emphasizing the inter-dependence of the world as a central context to be recognized. The 1963 curriculum also goes on to make important foundational statements on the idea of a place of learning, emphasizing the value of principles, essence and direction over mere information. These ideas have become the rock bed of all subsequent programs at CEPT University.
The curriculum statement is divided into three important parts; on the discipline of Architecture, on the challenges facing India and finally on the idea of an Architectural education.
Architecture has been related to man and his environment, to place, to time and people, and tied to their basic beliefs and activities. These activities, as they are repeated, become his institutions and slowly evolve forms known as architecture.
In time past, architecture often existed without being a separate profession. In answering, physical, social, religious and idealistic needs, it was in the spirit of building. It grew from fundamental beliefs and fundamental needs.
Each age, each culture must express itself. Today our environment, our aspirations extend as far as outer space. We must find an image and a counterpart of our beliefs, motivations, generating forces. The environment now demands new forms for its new growth, forms which have yet to evolve, which must satisfy numerous conditions of a rapidly changing society and technology.
Architecture is part of the physical manifestation of this society, of its realities, its desires. It is the spatial expression of meaningful insights into human activities and values, their relationships among one another and with the environment.
Man is an organism within the framework of an environment both organic and created. A group is an organism of people and buildings within the environment of the city; the city within the region, the region within the state and country. These continuously enlarging circles of dependence are twentieth century phenomena in that they are global. The revolution is not merely of time and technology but of the complete interdependence of man, his institutions and his environment. It is a totality.
Architecture in twentieth century must necessarily be different than it was in the time past. However these new forms of the 20th century must relate to age old traditions. Therefore architecture in India will naturally be different it is in other parts of the world.
WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL REALITIES OF INDIA?
- A rich culture spanning technological centuries, bullock carts confronting industrial giants, mass illiteracy and the most advanced learning.
- An economy of great potential, facing a mammoth task.
- An extremely large population growing at a phenomenal rate.
- A majority of the people still living below marginal levels.
- An urban population growing from the present 100 millions to 520 millions in the year 2000.
- The restlessness of the people striving for a better life.
An architect born of such roots and raised in such a climate must be fully aware of such realities. He must be skilled in the most basic and most advanced techniques of building. He must be aware of the problems of dust, heat, glare and rain. He must be able to deal with many scales, to understand the relatedness and interrelatedness of the environment as one complete totality. He must be able to co-operate with technicians, social scientists, artists, so that he may evolve forms appropriate to these needs.
No country of the size if India has ever before undergone the industrial revolution with its resulting consequences. of metropolitan expansion, increased density, strained utilities, and public facilities. Some cities of India by 2000A.D. will have populations of 10 to 30 millions. With limited Economic means, the kind of structure (physical, administrative, industrial, resedential) of these agglomerations will greatly determine the outlook and the existence of the people.
THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
The ultimate aim of all education is the training of men able to deal challengingly with problems. It deals with all accumulated knowledge, helping students to translate these into actions appropriate to their own time. In process, it is a dynamic analysis of culture, values, knowledge, and methodology. It must be selective dealing with principle, essence, and direction as contrasted to merely accumulated, unrelated facts.
Education combines the abstract and the real. It must challenge the established patterns, seek out validity in tradition, and combine these with possibilities of today. It must encourage original research as a means of establishing new roots.
Our school inspires to train architects for this task. It aims to maintain the highest standard of excellence by carefully selecting students genuinely interested in learning and responsive to their surroundings. Regardless of his achievements or attitude at the time of his admission, a student must demonstrate an open and inquiring attitude indicative of a capacity for growth and development.
The schools programme includes teacher training and research programmes, in order to provide the cross stimulation necessary for growth and development. Exposure to diverse opinion and a broad range of subjects demands the pooling of resources far beyond the hopes of a permanent faculty. For this purpose, visiting critics, lecturers and consultants from India and abroad will compliment the permanent faculty. These contributions, whether in one hour’s discussion or a month’s stay, are extremely important, and will be a constant force for stimulation and growth within the school.
THE CURRICULUM - 1963
The course provides a broad cultural background in addition to the technical courses essential to the architectural training. The curriculum is a framework for knowledge, a diagram in which the relationships among disciplines, courses are made apparent. By its very structure it states the points of view which should permeate all teaching and learning: that the aim of educations is a mind which comprehends relationships, which is methodical and imaginative.
The curriculum follows three Streams:
- The First stream deals with the Physical world, the measurable world of the physical and spatial science, the nature and structure of the universe and its universals, with mathematics, and with the interrelationships between various sciences.
- The Third stream deals with Folk, Work and Place, the basic relationships among man, economy, activities and resources. It is the whole fabric made by man, his activities and institutions. This stream forms a continuous link between our world today and its historical antecedents.
- The Central stream is the world of Architectural synthesis where all forces come together to bear on spatial problems. From the first stream knowledge is derived about the physical world, building possibilities, climatic phenomena. From the third stream knowledge is gathered about specific human activities and how they relate to the whole, a balance between the technical and humanistic aspects of architecture.
This curriculum represents an education which is a continuous process, working back and forth from whole to part, part to whole and across fields.