A Report on the Visits by the Visiting Boards of the Commonwealth Association of Architects to The Department of Architecture of the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi and the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad
By Aditya Prakash, Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh. (Nominee of the Government of India on the Boards)

I had the privilege to be on the visiting boards to inspect the:-

(1) Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

(2) School of Architecture, Ahmedabad.

For the purpose of recognition by the Common Wealth Association of Architects (C.A.A), I was nominated to these boards by the Government of India.

Besides myself the boards consisted of the following members:-

At Delhi :

(1) Sir Robert Mathews (From U.k.)

(2) Shri Zakir Uddin (From Pakistan)

(3) Shri M.S. Rana (Nominee of Indian Institute of Architects)

At Ahmedabad:

(1) Sir Huge Wilson (From U.K.)

(2) Prof. Robert Gardner Medwin (Nominees of C.A.A.)

(3) Shri Rusi Khambatta and Shri Mistry(Nominees of I.A.A

At each place Mr. T. Colchester, Secretary C.A.A. was present to take notes for the preparation of reports and the boards spent 3 days for inspections and discussions.

Inspections consisted of the following:

(1) Inspection of the premises and equipment.

(2) Inspection of studios with the students working in them.

(3) Inspection of the works of the students.

(4) Inspection of Library, Workshops, Laboratories.

(5) Inspection of the examination question papers, and answer books.

The discussion consisted of the following:

(1) Discussions with the Head of the Institution.

(2) Discussion with the members of the Faculty.

(3) Discussion with students.

(4) Discussion amongst the members of the board.

Thus the entire working, the quality of the students, of the faculty, the adequacy of the space, equipment, Library, and workshop, the system of education – practically everything conceiveable regarding the institutions was thoroughly examined.

The members of the board, after thorough discussions decided to recommend the recognition of the courses of study in Architecture offered by the aforementioned institutions by the Commonwealth Association of Architects.

This recognition will imply that the degree and diploma in architecture awarded by these institutions will be considered equivalent to the degree or diploma awarded by the similarly recognised institutions in the entire commonwealth. A list of the institutions so recognized so far is given in appendix.

It is evident that such recognition will give to the recognised institutions a certain prestige in a very large part of the world (e.g. Britain, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan, Ghana … …) The students coming out of the recognized institutions will have better job opportunities throughout the world. They are also likely to be accepted more easily for higher education, fellowships etc. in foreign countries. This recognition abroad is likely to give their students higher weightage in India also. It was, perhaps, because of the great importance of this recognition that the Government of India decided to appoint their own nominee on the visiting board of the C.A.A.

In view of the importance of this recognition, it is well to record the essential things that the visiting boards look for before according recognition, and to state whether the Chandigarh College of Architecture is adequate or difficient in some areas. (I am unable to record whether other Schools of Architecture in India are adequate or deficient in some areas).

 

What the visiting boards look for:

Whether the Chandigarh college of Architecture meets the required standard. If not what should be done.

(1)

That the students possess the basic qualifications for admission, and have required aptitude and intelligence level for study of Architecture, and that there is no interference, political or administrative, in the selection of students for admission.

The college fulfils the basic admission requirements. There is however, no aptitude test, which, though not insisted upon, seems to be appreciated by the members of visiting board. It is recommended that we should introduce an aptitude test for admission on the same lines as the Delhi School.

(2)

That the school has adequate premises with required numbers of studios, lecture rooms, seminar rooms etc.

The college is well provided in this respect.

(3)

That there is enough equipment in workshops, laboratories and classrooms.

We have well equipped workshop. We do not have any laboratories. But the facilities can be availed from Engineering College when required. We should however have our own laboratory for study for Accoustics Solar control, and Illumination etc.

(4)

That the School has a proper library

We have

(5)

That the faculty is of adequate standard, and keeps up to date, and that the faculty does enough professional work.

In this field we are not upto the mark. In Delhi School as well as the Ahmedabad School, there is full freedom for doing professional work. The Ahmedabad School is entirely staffed by people in private practice. The Head of the Delhi School is also a private practitioner. Practically all other faculty members have private practice. In fact the school helps the faculty members in getting private works, and provides facilities within the its premises so that the staff members can also attend to their private work during off hours. In the Chandigarh College of Architecture there is no permission for general private practice. Sometime ago permission was granted that a faculty member may design two private houses in one year. But the procedure for permission and other formalities were so tedious that even this permission did not prove effective. The consequence of this restriction is that worthwhile architects do not wish to be on the faculty of the college.

Such persons from the Department who are posted in the College regret it, and desire to go back. The faculty feels it self at a disadvantage as compared to the Delhi & Ahmedabad Schools. Reading of books cannot make faculty up-to-date in Architecture.

It is therefore necessary that means should be found so that the faculty in college has enough professional work, and is at par with the Delhi School and / or Ahmedabad School. Otherwise this factor alone will be a serious obstacle in the recognition of the School by the Commonwealth Association of Architects.

(6)

That the standard of examination is reasonably high

All our examination are conducted by the University, and the answers examined by well qualified external examiners. I think we have adequate standard of examinations.

(7)

That there is proper co-relation between the various subjects taught, and that all subjects related to Architecture are covered.

We do try to establish co-relation between the various subjects taught. For example, the design problems are converted in to working drawings. But whether we can do so in all respects, will have to be examined. (For example Structural design, quantity surveying etc. of the actual design problems) we however, set all our design problems with reference to actual sites.

(8)

That the students receive practical training during the course of their studies.

We have a six month break after 3rd year for practical training. The visiting board tend to thing that it should be one year. No school in India has that. If it is done by other Schools we should also do that.

(9)

Whether enough liason is maintained with the profession and the students are exposed to specialized knowledge by inviting experts to address them

We do keep the students well informed as to what is happening in Chandigarh. We take them to various sites of works. But we do not have enough specialists in Chandigarh. We have permission of inviting only 3 specialists from outside for speaking to our students. They can be paid only 1st class fare and Rs.100 honorarium. This is very inadequate. Most worthwhile experts prefer to travel by air or car to save time. Delhi School have every generous provisions in this respect. They can call anybody to speak and pay air fare. Ahmedabad School offers an elective course whenever they can find an expert in any field connected with Architecture.

Some general observations about the functioning of the Delhi School and the Ahmedabad School.

Delhi School is administered by a board of Governors, and is financed by the Government of India. Even if it is antonomous body, its working has the connivance of the Government of India through the representative of the Government of India on its board, and through the finances for its running. The school is affiliated to the Delhi University.

Ahmedabad School is governed and directed by an Advisory Council, and is financed by the Ahmedabad Education Society. It is an antonomous private institution. But it is expected that the Government will finance it soon. The school conducts its own examinations, and awards a diploma. Which is recognized by the Union Public Service Commission as equivalent to degree in B. Arch. Awarded by other Universities for superior services.

Whereas in the Delhi School the teaching programme and examination are regulated through the Delhi University, the Ahmedabad School controls its functioning largely by itself. It has more freedom and flexibility.

In both cases the autonomous nature of the Governance of the Schools is of great value. They are able to decide and implement their educational policies expeditiously. For instance, the Ahmedabad School draws its entire faculty from practising architects and engineers. They find that the private practice is no impediment in teaching. In fact, them assert that only from practising architects can they find worth while teachers. Similarly, the Delhi School permits private practice to its faculty. Both Schools are able to attract very good teachers on its faculty because of their policies of providing them professional facilities- At neither place the faculty depends on the School for its bread and butter. It is only their capability and interest in education which brings them to the School. The Delhi School is able to have Shri A.P. Kanvinde and Shri J. R. Bhalla as the students in both places look to the teachers for job opportunities. As all teachers have private offices, placement of the students for practical training is no problem. Most students are able to earn some money during practical training, as well as during vacations. It is further stated that the students place greater confidence in teachers who have professional work in hand. Their word is valued as compared to the word of those who teach only from the books.

CONCLUSTION

Any institution for Architectural Education should have the following attributes.

(1) It should have a dequate premises, equipment, laboratories and workshops.

(2) Its students should have high intelligence level and aptitude for architecture.

(3) If faculty should consist of people who are actively engaged in professional work and have aptitude for teaching.

(4) It should be governed by a body of people who are actively engaged in the profession and allied disciplines – e.g. Town Planning, Scociology, Art etc.

(5) It should maintain close liason with the profession. It should not only meet the needs of the profession, but should provide guide lines to what the profession should do.

RECOGNISED SCHOOLS OF ARCHITECTURE – 1968 BY COMMONWEALTH ASSOCIATION OF ARCHITECTS:

AUSTRALIA

  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The Gordon Institute of Technology, Geelong
  • The Hobart Technical College, Tasmania
  • The Queensland Institute of Technology, Victoria
  • The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Victoria
  • The South Australian Institute of Technology, Adelaide
  • The Western Australian Institute of Technology, Perth

CANADA

  • The University of British Columbia
  • The Megill University, Montreal
  • L’ University de Montreal
  • The University of Manoba
  • The University of Toronto
  • Nova Scotia Technical College.
  • L’ Universite Laval.

EIRE

  • University College Dublin
  • The National University of Ireland.

HONG KONG

  • The University of Hong Kong

NEW ZEALAND

  • The University of Auckland

SOUTH AFRICA

  • The University of Capetown
  • The University of Natal
  • The University of The Orange Free State
  • The University of Pretoria
  • The University of Witwatersrand

UNITED KINGDOM

  • The University of Bristol
  • The University of Cambridge
  • The University of Wales Institute of Science & Technology
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Strathclyde
  • The University of Liverpool
  • University College London – The Bartlett School
  • The University of Manchester
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of Nottngham
  • University of Sheffield
  • College of Arts and Design, Birmingham
  • The University of Aston
  • Architectural Association School, London
  • Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology, Aberdeen
  • College of Art, Brighton
  • College of Art, Canterbury
  • Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee
  • College of Art, Kingston-on-Thames
  • College of Art, Leeds
  • College of Art and Design Leicester
  • College of Art and Building, Hammersmith
  • The Northern Polytechnic, London
  • The Polytechnic, Regent Street, London
  • College of Technology, Oxford
  • College of Technology, Portsmouth

ADDITION OF KUMASI UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, GHANA; AND BATH UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, UNITED KINGDOM.