The architecture industry in India and globally have evolved and the government also needs to amend its archaic Architects Act in the present context, according to Shamit Manchanda, Partner and Chief Architect of Manchanda Associates. In an exclusive chat with Sunanda Jha of ETRealty, Manchanda, who is also the chairman - Northern Chapter of The Indian Institute of Architects, shares his views on the architecture industry in India at present and the role of marketing and technology in its growth: Edited excerpts:

How do you see the architecture industry in India at present? What are the challenges hindering the sector's rapid growth?

The architecture Industry is at a very interesting phase in India at present. On one hand we have opportunities within India where our economy is poised for a 7% growth, the Affordable Housing sector has been given infrastructure status, and Smart Cities and Housing for all are getting a push from the government.

However on the other hand we have shortage of a talent pool of good Architects, due uncontrolled mushrooming of architectural schools and also have the archaic Architects Act which needs amendments in the present context. Indian Architects are doing very good work of international standard but they lack in marketing their achievements. Institutional bodies like The Indian Institute of Architects ( IIA ) can play a very vital role here in helping the industry grow by devising strategies and lobbying with the government as well as the construction industry as a whole.

How has the architectural practice evolved over the years? What has been the most significant change?
Architectural practices have evolved and are still evolving. Today there are more corporatized firms than in the past. Small 3-4 person boutique firms too are growing into larger entities. The end user is much more travelled today and is well aware and appreciates the role of good architecture.

This awareness in the general public has given smaller firms the opportunity to grow. Digitalization and globalization have had their due impact as well. More and more firms today are moving to Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric designing.

The real estate sector has witnessed a prolonged slowdown. While the residential segment is still in the slumber, commercial land retail have picked up pace. What challenges did you as an architect face in this time of downturn in terms of timely payments by builders or contractors?
The real estate sector, thanks to the new budget and affordable housing getting the status of infrastructure industry, is hopefully going to get the impetus that it strongly needed. One should see real estate prices correcting and a big boost to low cost housing sector. The downturn that the industry has faced had a lot of existing projects getting stalled and thus payments to consultants also got affected. The implementation of RERA will have a positive impact on the industry by weeding out the fly-by-night builders and strengthening the consistently good performers, thus improving the entire eco-system.