Architectural Education in India is an expanding knowledge discipline and the projections for number of interested students in near future pose an emergent need for preparation to equip the institutions and universities with requisite capabilities both in terms of funds available as well as most importantly faculty strength which would be required in educational Institutions in the country.
COA and its Education Committee have foreseen this need and have taken necessary steps to prepare the profession/institutions for this scenario arising in our context. The COA has sounded/identified institutions with exemplary qualitative standards and history of educational excellence in the country and is combining with them to initiate a post-graduate program which actually prepares faculty for architecture.
Post-graduate program in Architectural Education is not yet an offered discipline in India and is not even realised as an important input for the faculty of architecture in our country or for that matter in many countries. A professional with a theoretical bent of mind gets into teaching institutions and at times professional involvement itself becomes an important criterion to be a ‘teacher’. This although is true in itself but, not always, as there is a tremendous difference between understanding theory of architecture and consciously use that as your driving force in conceptualising the buildings that one designs. In a sense the way designing of building is practised, the forces that shape the results are far too many to leave the architects into their single minded pursuit of their theoretical concepts and understandings in achieving results. That is why the theoretical knowledge which provides the basis for a conscious architectural problem solving, sometimes is pushed behind by the overriding practical considerations and if professionals adapted to such predicaments are involved in teaching, the quality of education suffers. This is why the need to initiate such a programme with an emphasis to identify and train the faculty which can commit to an emphasis which is required for training of teachers in architecture.
Objectives and Goals
Architecture as a discipline is an amalgam of theoretical knowledge of sciences, creative faculties and skills of an individual. All these are partly ingrained and partly acquired through one’s involvement in the field of knowledge and also the practice (learning by doing). That is why it is difficult to couple training and knowledge inputs through unified method of delivery. The knowledge based disciplines need participatory inquiry into various subjects, more through ‘Seminars’ and the skill based training require working with hands under an experienced ‘Doer’ through a ‘Workshop’ / ‘Studio’ experience. These two types of delivery make the discipline of architecture and it’s this particular demand of imparting the knowledge and skills together makes it very different from the usual course of ‘education’ as in other disciplines. The Seminar based exchange is through the textual conversations and the skill based exchange is through a consciously devised ‘problem solving’ situations which are created as a tool to exercise one’s faculties. The exchange here is through the representational skills which are acquired through abilities to draw and simulate three dimensional media. When it comes to understanding any knowledge discipline, the role of historical studies forms the basis of a continuum in evolving knowledge fields. In architecture also in order to develop understanding about this continuum, studies of historic buildings and towns provide a valuable resource which the students need to ‘decode’ in order to rediscover the frozen knowledge through a systematic approach to record, document, analyse and understand all the related aspects of a building and through that its purpose for which it represented a cultural time.
Thus the sole objective for such a course is to inculcate in the participants the requisite awareness and sensibilities to comprehend the complex nature of the professional discipline and develop an understanding which clarifies their perception of various aspects involved within the knowledge discipline. This perception eventually equip them to instruct and guide the lower level students in developing directions and initiate them in developing understanding about the various subjects and aspects of the discipline and also develop their own faculties to comprehend the discipline.
Thus those who are trained to deliver to the lower level participants/students must consciously understand this difference and develop the ability to articulate these complimentary contents into a wholesome gain for those who want to train as architects/teachers. In order to prepare a programme for M. Arch. (Faculty of Architecture) the following would be considered;
There are two broad groups within which the discipline could be divided;
- Knowledge based subjects which are participatory and conducted through ‘Seminars’ with a historic perspective to establish the continuum of knowledge fields
- Skill based subjects which are essentially ‘design’ initiatives handling the creative mind and ability to transform ideas through representative means into form and structure, which are conducted through ‘workshops’ and or ‘Studios’ where an individual is ‘working’ towards his goal through a problem-solving situation while constantly exposed to a group (also involved in similar acts) in order to share and take advantage of collective ‘give & take’ which is very important in such human disciplines.
- Representational skills as a tool to express ideas
- Advancement in communication skills and representational media using CAD and such other computer based applications as an added dimension in conveyance of ideas in building designs
- Study of Historic building types, buildings as Repositories of codified evolving knowledge. Repository of Culture, Crafts, Science & engineering of construction, through study of historic buildings and settlements as precedents in given contexts, which can be deciphered in order to gain knowledge in architecture.
The most important base in expanding knowledge frontiers in architecture is the study through the evolving history of culture and relevant history of Technology of Construction engineering. This aspect is best presented to the students of architecture by exposing them to the study of historic buildings which serve as ‘cases’ for detailed documentation, analysis and understanding the whole subject of building design, practice and its execution as an evolving phenomenon which is a cumulative body of knowledge encompassing the entire sphere of culture and societal forces which shape a work of architecture.
Details of the Programme and subject contents could be outline in more detail in due course which would essentially equip the participants through the entire field of architectural discipline as it is understood and practised in contemporary times. These are also in a sense a carry forward from the basic curriculum which the participants may have gone through in their undergraduate levels, however, the level of complexity and the idea of preparing the participants to be able to deliver the knowledge gained to the lower level students would be the intention of each of the course content. The course thus could be categorized as follows;
- Pedagogic Stream: Knowledge based Stream: Humanities, Sciences and Engineering
- Design Stream: Skill Based Streams: Studio, Work shops and Representation Techniques
- Related Studies: Systematic studies of buildings and settlements, Techniques of Surveys, Documentation and Understanding Maps and Images
Ability to convey
While pursuing the programme, an important element of training and experience would be to recognize the importance of being ‘objective’ about one’s own attitude and being able to convey in a specific situation, the knowledge and experiences, to a much younger level of groups of students of architecture. The means of conveyance are also now contemporary with new tools as the times change. Adapting to these also becomes one of the important aspects of training of teachers. Future in all disciplines of knowledge and praxis demands that these contemporary means, which enormously increase the effectiveness and speed of conveyance, become part of the regular interaction in Institutions and the teachers employ such means as an important tool to aid their delivery in a learning environment.
For this reason a parallel programme in CAD is also inserted within the institution’s PG Programmes so that it could be integrated effectively into overall learning opportunities. This CAD programme will offer opportunities for learning through laboratories equipped with the tools and experts to provide sufficient expertise to the participants.
The Course Contents
This area is being detailed and is being worked out in due course delineating the semester-wise programme and would be ready in a short time including its credit structure and other academic requisites.
At the Post-graduate level this is an important concern and the professional courses run on credit system can lay down the minimum requisite achievable standards which fulfil the required University criterion. As a policy the recommended method would be that of the stage-wise evaluation through a system of assessments of progressive gains of periodic assignments and presentation. Periodic Instruction sessions to the students by the participants of this programme as part of their assignments in each subject that they handle would be integrated within the overall programme as requisite part of their programme training. These would be evaluated through Professors in charge in the Pedagogic Streams and by a Jury in Design Streams. An important element of the evaluation system would be the participation of students in providing their feed back to appreciate the participants’ ability to convey instruction. The details for this are being worked out and would be included in due course.
The Programme could be of TWO YEARS’ duration with segmented sequences for assignments both in Knowledge and practice based areas and finally to application training for the individuals when they are placed as Instructors and Masters in actual institutions as a prerequisite to their obtaining their Post-Graduate Qualifications.
The semester wise break up would be detailed in subsequent submissions, however, it is envisages that the break up of the phases of learning would be divided into first year (two semesters) and second year (first semester for one’s own chosen area of work from the above three aspects of the Programme and second semester as a period of Instructorship in an institution under a professor) It is suggested that the participants chose their areas of interest in the overall programme and develop their special interest focus in teaching, keeping in mind its relatedness in the overall programme. Providing this option at PG level helps in creating pool of interest driven faculty which is also very much needed, while the general option is always open for the participants. This special interest option is offered in the third semester where they can develop their own expertise and they proceed to offer that area in an actual instructorship during the fourth semester as part of their training under a Professor. It is firmly believed, that the key to their effective role in an educational programme would still be, their overall preparedness and ability to integrating the special focus within the overall programme.
This will mean a semester wise break up of 2+1+1 leading to an M. Arch Degree at the end of the successful completion of the four semester work, including the training.