It is not intended in this paper to attempt a philosophical survey of the entire subject, but to indicate the present academic system of training in architecture. I shall try to discuss briefly only the salient features of the subject.
When we consider the present position of this subject and its aspects, we find that there has been an evolutionary and rational process, rather than a revolutionary one, all along, which has manifested itself at different stages during the last fifty years. Let us, therefore, consider whether the present system is quite satisfactory or whether it needs any immediate change. This Seminar will of course deal with concrete problems connected with architectural education and will indicate whether the training be either in schools or colleges or universities or as part-time courses and how to organise it.
In the past the patrons of architecture and the fine arts were the aristocrats who had sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to discriminate between good and bad; and the people followed tradition of building. Today the patrons are the people, and it is with them that the future of architecture lies. I have no misgivings concerning the part which democracy will play relating to architecture. Besides, in the past, distinction between the work of an architect and that of an engineer was not so clear. We have now realised the importance of an architect and his work in comparison with that of an engineer. Even the present government shows greater respect for the opinions of architects and their professional bodies. Furthermore, governments on their part render substantial financial help for the spread of architectural education. The result is that many institutions have already come into existence and some more are likely to come.
The position of architectural education was of a very limited nature in India before Independence. There was only one school in Bombay, in fact in the whole of Asia. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research had its plans and programme for the establishment of National Laboratories and Central Research Institutions. It also arranged planning committees for the implementation of technical education. In 1947 the Scientific Man Power Committee appointed by the Central Government submitted its Report and chalked out certain programme. By this time, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research had already collected the requisite data. In course of time such research institutes did an enormous work in the field of research and technical education. The All India Council of Technical Education appointed seven Boards, of which one was for Architecture and Regional Planning. After 1944, besides the Bombay School of Architecture and one or two other schools training students in elementary architecture, new schools of architecture were started at:
(a) Delhi Polytechnic, Delhi.
(b) Bengal Engineering College, Sibpore, Howrah.
(c) Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
(d) Faculty of Technology and Engineering, Kalabhavan, Baroda.
(e) Government Polytechnic, Nagpur.
(f) Government College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad (Deccan).
(g) University of Roorkee, Roorkee.
(h) Government School of Arts and Crafts, Lucknow.
In addition to the above the following private schools have been started:
(i) Architectural classes in Bombay by R. V. Pathare.
(j) Academy of Architecture in Bombay by Messrs. Gumaste, Mhatre and Wanderkar.
(k) School of Architecture and Town Planning at Agra by P. L. Sharma.
(l) Model Art Institute by D. P. Joshi (Two years’ Draftsman Course).
(m) Navbharat Audyogic Vidyalaya—Bombay (Two years’ Civil Draftsman Course).
Let us now review the position of architectural education in the past and present.
In the western countries prior to regular school system of education, pupilage and apprenticeship prevailed for a Jong time. The pupilage system in India was very rare and only 1 or 2 per cent of the pupils took advantage of this system. The rest were regular employees who gathered experience after putting in regular service under a practising architect. It is to be noted that under the old system of pupilage or the employee-system in our country they obtained a beneficial training in the requisite departments of architectural education. It is to be noted however that the pupilage system, though it was admirable, was more or less a haphazard affair because it depended mainly upon the architect to whom a pupil was articled and also on the pupil himself. Generally a busy practising architect had very little time to train the articled pupil. As a consequence of this the pupil was free to use his own individual judgement and initiative. It is necessary that a student should come in close contact with actual buildings. The students do get an opportunity to visit buildings in progress, but this advantage does not compare well with the advantage enjoyed by the articled pupils who unlike the present students had to prepare working drawings of the buildings they visited.
During the last five years, in the western countries there has been a regular decline of the pupilage and apprenticeship system as a result of the introduction of school system. During the last twenty years in Jndia the trend is on similar lines and the pupils prefer to join the school of architecture. In London the R.I.B.A. encourages the regular school system, so also the All India Board of Technical Studies in Architecture and Regional Planning. The economic condition of the pupils in our country docs not permit them to undergo a full-day five-year course and so they have to join either morning or evening or part-time classes and in consequence they have to spend 7 to 10 years instead of 5 years.
The Board of Studies in Architecture and Regional Planning aims in its educational reforms to make the training of architects more broad and solid, and encourages the day school system as it is more conducive to an efficient training in architecture. Pupils receiving training in different regions of our country are allowed to appear for National Intermediate/Diploma Examinations. This facility has also been extended to such students as are receiving education in the morning or evening classes.
The Board has recently revised the syllabus on the recommendations of experts in different professions for the guidance of regular day schools as well as for the students taking part in part-time courses and very little can be added to the present syllabus. Though this Board is not a teaching body it gives facilities to the external pupils lo take advantage of whatever educational facilities that might be available to them in their own region. This liberal attitude of the Board would prove of immense benefit to deserving poor students. According to the First and Second Five-Year Plans a Council for Technical Education has made provision for expansion of technical education wherein it has reserved 50% of the expenses of its funds for meeting the cost of the construction of schools of architecture and the cost of equipments and offer a loan free of interest returnable after 35 years for the construction of hostel buildings, to the various State Governments or to any philanthropic person who donates a moiety sum of expenditure for the purpose. The schools affiliated to the Universities apply to the University Grants Commission for help which in turn refers this question to the Board for its expert opinion. This has started a race among various educational centres to ask for introducing schools of architecture irrespective of the suitability of place, proper and suitable environment and adequate and efficient staff. In view of this the Board has rightly decided not to encourage new schools at such centres but to strengthen the existing schools, in order to maintain the requisite standard.
With regard to affiliation of various schools with the All India Board of Studies in Architecture and Regional Planning, the schools of architecture like that of Bombay, Delhi Polytechnic, Howrah and Kharagpur have been considered as duly recognised in as much as they have satisfied the requirements laid down by the Board. However, the Board feels that there is no need to give affiliation to any more schools hereafter. The Board has been trying its best to maintain a high and uniform standard of architectural education in our country, and the professional bodies like the Indian Institute of Architects could help to promote by its guidance and direction circumscribing the possibilities of entrance to our profession of inefficient and unfit persons. For the realization of this object the Indian Institute of Architects may demand an adequate representation on the management in matters of admission and also on the examining bodies of various schools either private or affiliated to the Universities.
A standard system of training in architecture is expected to give satisfactory answers to the following questions:
1) What subject should an architect know?
2) What should be the method of teaching these subjects?
3) Under what conditions?
These three questions constitute a fundamental theory of architectural education. The consideration of the syllabus of architectural education is vitally related to the function of an architect in present times which is of a very complex nature. There is no doubt that under present conditions it is impossible to train an architect without some consideration being given to the scientific factors affecting the process of the building. lf the architect is to fulfil his function as a creative designer, he must have proper understanding of the following:
i. Sufficient basic knowledge to design in all its aspects, in various materials using the resources of modern structural methods in a manner that would redound to his credit and that of his associates.
ii. Structural system and method and their possibilities and limitation.
iii. Sanitation, equipment, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, water supply and various other mechanical and scientific allied arts to conforts.
v. Inclination to avail himself of the services of a team of specialists or experts in these various branches for detail info and cooperate with them intelligently.
As the Chairman of the Board of Studies in Architecture and Regional Planning, I had the privilege of visiting several schools and Universities giving training in Architecture during the last three years and it will not be out of place if I mention some of the main drawbacks in the implementation of the syllabus. In spite of such a high standard of syllabus in architectural training, it is very disturbing to note that criticism has been levelled against the implementation of the syllabus. The people think that something is wrong somewhere and this tends them to think of the standard of architectural training in the Bombay School of Architecture in old times. Architectural education was in keeping with the needs and tendencies of the people at different times and it has under gone a great progress during the last three centuries. Even the present system of training has shown a tremendous progress in comparison with the system in old time. A review of the syllabus and the practice of the architectural education would prove beyond doubt that the standard of education has considerably improved in respect of the syllabus.
Architects in old times were called upon to do a limited job but in the present times, the architects’ profession has become very complex, in that they are supposed to be conversant with Town Planning, Law, landscape, science and economics. The present syllabus has been framed to equip an architect with all-round knowledge of the subject. The standard of syllabus in our country is practically on the same lines as those in the western countries. This syllabus was framed in consultation with the representatives of various technical bodies. But there seems to be some difficulty in implementing the scheme.
It is noticed that in some schools it is still a fact that in spite of a provision for the full-time appointment of a qualified architect as Principal, either such posts are not filled up or are being held by the head of other departments who may not have the requisite knowledge of architecture. The posts of Vice-Principals and Readers in some schools remain sometimes vacant. The system of visiting lecturers who have a thorough knowledge and practical experience of long standing has been partially replaced in some schools by the system of permanent lecturers, who may not necessarily possess adequate knowledge and experience of some subjects which are allotted to them to cover the time-table. In appoinging studio-assistants, preference is given in some cases to a student who has just passed the course without adequate practical experience. The grades of salaries of professor and assistant-professor and visiting lecturers are not so attractive in many schools and colleges as to get competent and experienced persons. The qualified architects prefer private practice to teaching for obvious economic considerations. If the standard of the architectural education is to be raised, the grades of salaries of teaching-staff should be so raised, as to attract the right type of persons.
It is necessary that all the members of the teaching-staff including Principal, Vice Principal Readers and studio-assistants be allowed to do private practice without causing hindrance to the regular official duty because this concession will always keep them in constant touch with the practical side of architecture which is, perhaps more important than the academic one.
Majority of schools of architecture do not possess all the books requisite for an adequate knowledge of the subjects. In addition to the standard books, new books, (modern) magazines and periodicals on the subjects are essential.
In some schools extra curricular activities like debates, seminars, lantern-lectures, tutorials, atelier classes etc. have been discontinued to the great detriment of the students.
In some regions schools are established where there is no proper environment for architectural training, no possibility of private practice or construction work of varied types of buildings; architects naturally are not attracted to such places and decline to take up posts on teaching-staff when offered to them.
In spite of an improvement in the syllabus it is regretted that no proper attention is as yet paid to the practical side of the subject. Unless we strike a happy balance between the academic and the practical aspects, the standard of architectural education will suffer. It is suggested that during the course of training in the school, it may be considered whether it will be possible to link up each student with a practising architect for some period. If this is not possible due to heavy syllabus, there must be made a compulsory provision of at least one year’s practical training at any qualified architect’ s firm after completion of five years’ course, because the present system of taking the students to the site to study the building under construction docs not fulfil the objective unless they get an opportunity to visit the construction work from time to time at diff stages of construction.
One of the reasons for the present deterioration in the standard of architectural education is that proper consideration is not shown while admitting students to this course. Most of the candidates admitted are lamentably weak in Drawing and English. Very few have a general conception of the history of arts in our country as well as Western countries. Furthermore, some of them do not possess even the basic knowledge by which they can develop their critical faculties. The abolition of English in the Secondary Schools from first to the third standard in the State of Bombay has resulted in a great handicap to the students who join the architecture course. Again the standard of two drawing examinations, viz., Elementary and Intermediate has gone so low that some students with only four to six months’ training can get through both the examinations whereas others have to spend at least a year or two. Thus the majority of them do not grasp the fundamental principles of drawing. The most disturbing thing is that majority of the students who are admitted to this course lack in self-confidence which the architectural schools cannot afford to ignore. This would convince us beyond doubt that the present system of admitting students in some of the schools, only on the score of the progress shown at the S.S.C. examination and for the Drawing examination is not sound. The students should be necessarily subjected to an independent entrance test-examination and a viva voce to study the personality of each student as it is done at present in some schools.
Furthermore, deterioration in the standard of architectural education could be attributed to the facts that students seeking admission to the architectural schools are lacking in proper perspective and love for architecture which is mainly due to the fact that at the elementary and secondary stage education the civic sense in the pupils is not properly cultivated. The educational authorities should, therefore, take necessary steps to inculcate in the minds of the students love for architecture. The teachers should impress upon the pupils the value of dignified structures, a well-arranged street and open spaces, a beautiful temple or mosque, cleanliness, order and spaciousness in the public thoroughfare the maintenance of civic spirit in the city, town or village they live in.
The duration of the course of training in architecture is generally five years. Considering the holidays, excursions, vacations and examinations which arc enjoyed by the students, it is very difficult to complete the course and the students apart from the practical training are not able to do justice to the academic side. Basically the course is of 180 weeks, excluding the vacation but in practice we get only 150 weeks and some schools get 130 weeks, as nearly 30 weeks are allotted to examinations and other works. It is, therefore necessary that one clear year should be set apart for apprenticeship at a recognised architect’s firm, after the completion of five years’ course in the school.
Even though the syllabus in various schools is followed on the lines of the standard syllabus laid down by the All India Board of Technical Studies in Architecture and it is on par with the R.I.B.A. London, the students coming out of different schools and Universities at the completion of their course are not of the same standard. In some schools class-work is considered along with the examination results, whereas in others only examination work is considered. Furthermore, the percentage of marks for passing varies from 40 to 50% in different schools. It is, therefore, necessary to attain a uniform standard for which the Professional Body should be represented on the Committee of Examiners and the Board of Moderators. It appears that at the time of appointments in govern service preference is given to foreign degrees. This has given rise to the fact that students feel like appearing at the foreign examinationss and on account of this duplication, their energies are unnecessarily taxed. This could be avoided by some sort of coordination. It is in fact the responsibility of the Professional Body to take interest in architectural education and guide the various institutions conducting architectural education.
In most of the schools there is a difference in the programmes launched by these schools and also in organisation. The facilities afforded by these schools are also different and as a result of this, there are different types of products at the Final Examination. In some of the above-mentioned schools, the standard is far from satisfaory. The schools should be free to develop on their own lines as long as the requisite standard is kept up. It is also not advisable to dictate a unifom organisation and administration for the implementation of the syllabus in all schools, but it would be in the interest of each school to allow it to develop on its own individual line as long as the requisite standard of education is maintained and at the same time for each school to note as to what is being done in the other schools, as this would assist in encouraging the widest possible exchange of ideas.
Observations on some Subjects and Teaching
I should like to off my observations on various subjects and the teaching thereof:
(1) Architectural Drawing
In a well laid out course for training in architecture, there will be so much drawing involved in carrying out of the other studies that proficiency cannot well be avoided, but the students should have it firmly impressed on their minds that though necessary the power to make a good drawing is about the least important of the many faculties that the fully qualified architect must possess. Even then, every pupil should attempt to acquire the drawing technique at the earlier stage. An important objective of the drawing work should be to encourage study to take advantage of methods of reducing labour in the preparation of drawing. Inability to do drawing is a severe handicap in practice but it must never be forgotten that the drawing is nothing more than the medium of expressing the design, that a really good design will not necessarily look well on paper—similarly the design cannot be improved in any way—merely by tricking-up with all little dashes and dots in an attempt to catch the eye. Good drawing will not of itself make a good design though a good design deserves to be well presented on paper.
Jn fact the drawing should continue on from the preparatory course and should include up to the advanced stages of practical, plane and solid geometry,—sciography and perspectives and drawing from the antique and from life. The latter will help with the sculpture in design, but, of course, is not intended as a means of superseding the sculptor.
Any studies that will cultivate an appreciation of form are valuable and for this reason a course in modelling is desirable.
Facility in rendering in water colour and in pen and ink must also be included as a necessary part of the training.
(2) Subject of Design
In the past, there was no relation between art and the needs of common man. The works of art were detached from common wants and some cases showed a vulgar taste, but now this tendency has happily changed and the insistence is made for good art, design, simplicity and proper choice rather than vulgar taste. At present there seems to be a tendency to neglect the study of the practical traditional art. There is a growing inclination for the modern art, but the tendency has been found very suicidal in as much as the students do not know how modem art has evolved. Thus it is absolutely necessary that a reasonable period must be devoted to study of practical traditional art at the completion of which considerable choice and latitude may be given. Some teachers of design actually encourage students to neglect the study of construction to prevent blunting of imagination. This is a very serious mistake which must be avoided. The Principal should see to it that throughout the course, every effort is made by the teacher to stimulate students’ imagination without ignoring importance of construction.
In teaching the subject of Design, the teachers are well advised to employ simple and direct methods, so that the students can follow it very easily. The glaring defect noticed in some schools so far as design is concerned is that the programmes drafted for subjects in various classes have not been properly graded and are not commensurated with the ability of the students in respective classes. It is desirable that a committee rather than an individual should be entrusted with the work of setting problems in different classes. In solving a design problem the students should be left to exercise their own imagination and call into action their own abilities. The teacher in turn should avoid imposing his own likes and dislikes on the student. He may offer his own criticism pointing out the errors, but under no circumstances should he do the job himself for the students. When a programme is set for advanced classes in the design subject before the candidates undertake to prepare preliminary sketches it is necessary that the lecturer in charge should have adequate knowledge and be thoroughly prepared for the consideration of pros and cons of the subject rather than giving the students vague and incomplete info on the subjects. When once the proper introduction is made the students should be left to spend considerable time in research during these periods; at least for advanced classes there is no necessity for the lecturer to remain in the studio. At the completion of the preliminary sketch the lecturer is well advised to offer his criticisms on the designs. Thereafter the students while preparing final designs should bear in mind the criticism of the lecturer and remove the defects pointed out by him. After the final designs are complete it is desirable that the practising architect and experts should be invited to off their criticism.
The choice of the subject for the First Year Class is a difficult matter. Very often the subjects set are of complicated nature and are not simple. The simplest plan is naturally that which consists of one Unit e. g. a bus-shelter, a garden-pavilion, a band stand and the like. Even in single Unit there are alternative shapes in plan e.g. squares, rectangular, octagonal, circular and other, and the students should note the resultant possibilities and drawbacks of each and after analysing them, adopt the solution to the particular conditions of the design. For the Second Year Class the subjects may be based in more Units out of simple nature e.g. primary or secondary school, hostel, a small temple or mosque, dharamsala, river-ghat, etc. For the Third Year Class subjects based on more Units of accommodation of varied types, subjects like e.g. hotels, suburban hospital, branch-bank, small club-house, cultural-halls, cinema, theatre, etc., and when studying these of contrasting shapes, their juxtaposition and linking together can be made. Thus the students will not unnecessarily turn out complicated solutions in their design subjects. In the Fourth Year Class advanced subjects should be set e.g. college, hospital, canteen, office, flats, layout of housing-schemes, etc. In the Fifth Year Class an opportunity for designing subjects on ambitious scale and of complex nature should be provided as the scope of subject should extend to include structural engineering, town-planning, landscape design and so on, i.e., the subjects like large ofllcees, flats, large fa stadium, recreational centres, aerodrome, railway station, large bank buildings, on the line set for National Diploma Examination in India or the subjects set by the All India Board of Technical Studies in Architecture for the National Diploma Examination or as testimony subjects or subject set for the R.I.B.A. Final and Special Final Examinations. It is necessary that the students should be able to make correct and attractive drawings. There seems to be a tendency on part of many students to make their drawings showy and fussy by stressing unimportant in foreground and background like motor-cars, trees, human figures, etc., rather than emphasising the essential features of planning.
The subject of construction is very important for training of an architect. Therefore, it must be thoroughly and efficiently taught. The ultimate value of a building depends not on designing only but equally on its sound construction. Since the introduction of the use of steel and R.C.C. construction in buildings, restrictions prevalent in old times do not exist now; so the present designer has wider scope in planning, to utilize his intelligence and his ability but he must show scientific exactitude in his planning.
The belief that problems of construction in old times were of simple nature in contrast with those of present times is erroneous. The examination of the construction of the buildings like that of Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, Taj Mahal at Agra or St. Sophia at Constantinople or St. Peter at Rome will prove that the construction was of a complicated nature in those days. It is therefore essential that the students should study construction of traditional buildings to assist them in solving present problems of construction by scientific approach rather than copying construction-plates from foreign portfolios unsuited for our country. Unfortunately these aspects of traditional constructions are ignored by the students and teachers alike in as much as the students in their design-subject adopt R.C.C. construction by showing only two lines for floor construction—this R.C.C. construction is sought simply to avoid the labour involved in showing traditional construction. The teachers should, therefore see that the aspects of traditional construction are well observed when solving designing problems in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year classes and that the preparation of construction-plates should be on their design-subject rather than producing exact copies of printed portfolios. For solving the construction problem an adequate knowledge of the sciences of physics and chemistry supplemented by the laboratory work is essential.
(4) The History of Architecture
So far as the study of history of architecture is concerned we have noticed during our visits to various schools and colleges that the plates are merely copied either from the history-books of Banister and Fletcher or from the portfolio in Ancient Hindu Orders by Claude Batley in showy manner avoiding actual construction. It reveals that the students do not understand the purpose behind the preparation of these plates. The main purpose of teaching history, now as always, is to enable the student to become a better designer of contemporary buildings. This outlook is as narrow as it may at first seem or that it is exclusive of the broader cultural considerations. History should be taught as a study of how early craftsman had studied problem in the past and with a view to analysing the underlying principle to help us to solve the problem of today. Most of these problems are fundamentally the same, they are modified of course by constitutional, social, religious and political influences in each age.
If more emphasis is given in history lectures to the aesthetic achievement of traditional building, then the connection between lectures and studio work will be ever present in the student’s mind and he will extract more value from the lectures.
(5) Study of Classic or Indian Orders
There arc two arguments in favour of continuing historical studies including the study of Orders. The first argument is that architecture is and always has been a plant of slow growth, with its roots firmly embedded in tradition and that study of its evolution is valuable even in modern practice. It is also useful as an exercise in careful draughtsmanship. Many of our most successful and original young architects have undoubtedly benefitted by study of classic and Indian Orders and also composition. The second argument is that an architect’s ordinary practice comprises of such work besides designing new buildings. It involves the extension or modification of old ones, whether they be in Medieval, Classic, Renaissance or Indian traditions. Such work cannot be handled satisfactorily without proper knowledge of the historical orders.
The classic and Indian styles have such an immense influence in all succeeding European and Indian styles of architecture, that it is impossible to understand of the Greek, Roman or Indian later styles without a very full knowledge of architecture. It reminds me of the composition of the orders in Indian and classic styles that the students used to prepare in the Bombay School of Architecture about 35 years ago on Beaux Art-lines or on the lines of the schools of architecture at Liverpool and other places.
(6) Theory of Structures
In the past no proper attention was given to this subject and the subject of design was stressed very much. But during the last twenty years a considerable change has been brought about and a happy balance in the subject of design and theory of structures (stresses and strains) has been established. The results in the examination of various schools in this subject are very promising.
(7) Hygiene and Specialized Requirements of Buildings
The subjects of sanitation, hygiene, electricity, water-supply, acoustics, air-conditioning, etc., though they constitute as services and appear to be of a subsidiary nature, yet in truth they are as important as the subject of design. In modern planning the subjects of the design and services are inter-dependent and brook no negligence. An examination of answer-books of candidates in these subjects in various schools has shown a deplorable lack of knowledge. The work of an architect does not end with the design until he fulfil his obligations relating to the provision of adequate ventilation and lighting, water-supply, electricity, sanitation, proper sewerage, etc.
(8) The Specifications and Properties and Use of Building Materials
In western countries the writing of specifications is entrusted to a Quantity Surveyor whereas in our country an architect has to do this work himself and, therefore the pupils should pay proper attention to this subject.
Specification writing is the most exacting and difficult task; the realization of the knowledge and skill necessary to produce a dispute-proof document may possibly account for the fact that so many architects depend on a Quantity Surveyor to under take this important work for them. Many an architect is a complete stranger to the specification of the building he designs. And when he is called upon to make its acquaintance, it is with humility and apprehension that he does so.
There is evidence of too much rule-of-thumb method in modem specification writing and like the hereditary characteristics and faults which are handed down from generation to generation in family life, there are specifications begotten from a long forgotten sire with the identical ambiguities and discrepancies reproduced with perfect fidelity.
Of the greatest importance, next to the subject matter, is the style of the actual specification writing. The language should be simple, concise and clear cut, and convey the architect’s exact meaning of his intentions to the complete surprise of the peculiar type of builder who possesses a sensitive nose for those carelessly written ambiguities which so often enable him to scent fortuitous extras.
(9) Professional Practice
Success of architect depends on his observance of the rules of professional ethics and, therefore an adequate knowledge of various aspects of this subject is absolutely necessary. If some of these students choose to become specialists in some of the aspects of this subject, as an Arbitrator or as a Commissioner under the Rent Act, or Land Acquisition Officer or Town Planner, etc., a further detailed study is necessary.
(10) Town Planning and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture
The nature of these subjects in the present syllabus is so detailed and complicated that it is well nigh impossible to do justice to them during the limited number of periods allotted to them. It is desirable that necessary changes should be made in this syllabus regarding these subjects as there is a special provision for these subjects at post-graduate level. It should, therefore, be better if the syllabus lays down only the study of fundamentals of these subjects.
(11) Measured Drawings
On the subject of historical studies via measured drawing of good traditional buildings which influence design subject was rightly stressed in old times. Now it is observed that proper attention is not paid to this subject, though the excursions are arranged by various schools every year; the object is not gained as they are no more than flying visits where it is impossible for the students to concentrate on the measurement of particular buildings. There is no better way to learn the traditions of the art by measuring such buildings with intelligence not merely—with the idea of getting a record of fine building, but in order to make the meaning of it, whether it be as regards plan or general proportion, details or construction. I have many pleasant recollections of Bombay school excursions in the co of late Professor Claude Batley during 1925-1931. We enjoyed immensely these excursions and made sketches in colour and prepared the measured drawings of temples, mosques and palaces because we loved architecture.
It has been noticed that during last 10 years no student has availed himself of submitting measured drawings with a view to getting “Wittet-Scholarship” which is to the tune of Rs. 1000/-, certainly not a negligible sum for a student of architecture.
Regarding appointment of examiners in some schools it has been observed that the system of appointing an internal examiner as one of the examiners has led to the tendency of ignoring some of the aspects of the curriculum and stressing such aspects as often lead to likely questions.
Education is a bipolar process which means it is an activity conducted by the teacher and the pupil. The consideration of architectural education will not be completed unless we devote ourselves to the consideration of the status of teachers. It is agreed on all hands, that it is very difficult to get good teachers in view of unsatisfactory salary scales in most of the schools. It is high time something was done to improve the economic condition of teachers so that they would impart education efficiently. A discontented teacher is incapable of achieving the aims of education; some teachers in spite of their great scholarship do not make good teachers as they are lacking in proper training. A time has, therefore come for the introduction of at least one-year course for training teachers for architectural education.
It is undeniable that the control of architectural education, if it is to be properly directed, must remain in the hands of permanent and efficient staff but as there is a paucity of efficient staff in schools for aforesaid reasons there is a necessity for ensuring the position of responsibility to the staff at least by appointing whole-time Principal and Deputy Principal and administrative staff and the appointment of lecturers and specialists and studio assistants as part-time staff.
In order to attract architects of ability and the requisite qualifications it is necessary that (1) the teaching staff including Principal and Deputy Principal must be free to engage in private practice provided it does not conflict with their duty in the school. (2) After they prove their efficiency as teachers they must be assured of reasonable security of tenure. (3) They must have an adequate remuneration and pension after retirement. It is disturbing to note that these conditions are conspicuous by their absence in most of the schools. The contention of the Universities that the lecturers at the schools of architecture should stand on the same economic footing as those in other branches of education is not feasible in as much as technicians are always in greater demand outside the schools of architecture. So immediate steps should be taken to implement these suggestions.
The success of architectural education depends upon the closer contact between the teacher and the taught. This could be achieved only if tutorial system is introduced in architectural schools so that the teacher would be in a position to understand the personality of the pupil and his individual difficulty.
The teaching of various subjects in architectural education such as practical and theoretical, building costs etc., should be closely connected with the practical side of life and the theory propounded by the professor himself be closely linked in the studio work and it must be made applicable for the subjects set for design.
It is gratifying to note that the importance of the architectural education has been properly realized not only by the Government but also by the public. The syllabus framed by All India Board of Technical Studies in Architecture & Regional Planning is an ideal syllabus and if it is properly implemented by maintaining a proper balance between academic and practical sides, it would fulfill the noble aim of rendering commendable services to the society. I personally think that the future for trained architect is very bright because he is a powerful necessary factor in the successful improvement of existing and laying out new towns and cities. However, the authorities conducting architectural education should not ignore the fact that the standard of the architectural education must at all cost be maintained. It would be better if a few efficient architects are turned out rather than good many inefficient architects bearing in mind the question of demand and supply.
The profession of architects is highly connected with the noble ideal of service to the Society. We, therefore, must develop a method of teaching architecture in relation to the National Planning Programme in Urban and Rural Areas. While doing so we should try to avoid spoon-feeding and give an adequate scope for independent thinking on the part of students so that in the course of time they will be creative members of our profession. When the students are under training they must be able to develop their own powers of imagination and reasoning rather than be passive receptacles of information. We must, therefore encourage originality if it is based on sound construction and logical planning. It would, therefore, be the function of schools training in architecture to develop the students’ artistic intuition, their sense of spirits of the time which they should express in an architectural form and their sense of truth, ethics and logic.
It is the responsibility of the teachers to see that they do not kill students’ intuition by set up theories of proportion, colour and foreign styles, instead the teacher should acquaint the students with the type of architecture of our country. Thus this method will have the right way of independent thinking and create confidence in the students which will ultimately result in turning out right type of architects.