Just drop by a real estate agency, and find out what people know about an architect. In their language, a person who designs and constructs buildings is either called a “contractor” or a “builder”. You will be amazed at how little people know about the discipline of Architecture. And this is the reason why such a promising and interesting field goes unnoticed by the students.
Located in the hub of downtown Karachi and surrounded by numerous heritage buildings, the Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University of Engineering and Technology is an ideal place to study architecture. We decided to meet Dr. Noman Ahmed, the head of the department to discover more about this discipline.
He studied Architecture at Dawood College of Engineering and Technology which was at that time the only institute that offered a degree in Architecture. After graduation, he studied City Planning at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, and then went to the UK to earn his PhD in Civil and Building Engineering from Loughborough University.
In 2000, late Abul Kalam, Vice Chancellor of NED University invited Dr. Noman to come to the university and set up a separate department of Architecture.
What’s the scope of the subject?
Everyone lives in a home so everyone is in need of some professional help to improve and organize their space; which means architects are always in demand.
Currently, there are only 4000 architects for a population of 200 million in Pakistan. About half of them leave the country at one point in time or another. This number is further reduced when girls don’t come back into the industry after studies even though more girls make it to the department than boys; I remember teaching a batch that had 34 girls and one boy — who was always shivering with fear!
Unlike other engineering fields where you can only be employed in large scale organization where competition is tough, Architecture is a profession where all you need is a laptop and a place to sit to start providing services. And now, the use of advanced technology in architectural work has made service provision extremely simple. Students can become self-employed as and when they want.
And when the students graduate, we put up a show of their work; we invite prospective employers who see the work of our students and offer them jobs accordingly. For a thesis design jury, eminent practicing architects are invited and they select prospective employees. After graduation, it is very difficult to stay unemployed.