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Career as an Architect

Architects are responsible for designing the built environment that surrounds us. It takes a rich and vivid imagination, the ability to visualise, topped with persistence to see your ideas take form. If you have it, you are an architect in the making.

The work of architects influences every aspect of our built environment, from the design of energy efficient buildings to the integration of new buildings in sensitive contexts. Architect’s skills are in demand in all areas of property, construction and design, because of their ability to design and their extensive knowledge of construction. Architect’s expertise is invaluable when we need to conserve old buildings, redevelop parts of our towns and cities, understand the impact of a development on a local community, manage a construction programme or need advice on the use and maintenance of an existing building.

Prospects

Architects work closely with other members of the construction industry including engineers, builders, surveyors, local authority planners and building control officers. Much of their time is spent visiting sites, assessing the feasibility of a project, inspecting building work or managing the construction process. They also spend time researching old records and drawings, and testing new ideas and construction techniques.

As professional experts in the field of building design and construction, architects use their unique creative skills to advise individuals, property owners and developers, community groups, local authorities and commercial organisations. Generally architects work with architectural firms, in entrepreneurial ventures. But they are not limited to working only at traditional architectural firms. They also work as corporate and public architects.

Corporate architects are employed within the retail, office, manufacturing, medical and hospitality industries, and there are numerous job choices available at such companies, ranging from entry-level planners to high level executives.

Public architects work for government agencies. The government recruits architects to serve on capital projects planning, design and construction programs. The architect may be a direct government employee or hired as a consultant. Public architects get to work with Ministry of Urban Development, Central Public Works Department (CPWD). CPWD is responsible for a wide range of projects such as housing and commercial complexes, educational institutions, sports complexes, hospitals, factories, hostels, airports, roads, bridges etc. Other major public sector bodies employing architects are Town and Country Planning Organisation, The National Building Organisation, HUDCO, The National Building Construction Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Prefeb Ltd.

Besides these, some Public institutes and agencies that function at the state level are: Public Works Departments, State housing boards, municipal corporations, cooperative societies.

A number of research institutes such as the Central Building Research Institute and the Central Road Research Institute are involved in research and development in this field. Researches are conducted to invent new methods and techniques of construction, so that the cost of construction may be minimized. Researches are also conducted to invent new equipment and good quality construction material.

In terms of other career options, architects can serve as writers, critics and educators.

Architecture jobs

Architects may be involved in all phases of building and construction development, from the initial discussion to final construction. Their duties demand a variety of skills like designing, engineering, managerial and supervisory.

Architecture admissions

For a Bachelors degree you need to study PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Maths) at the 10+2 level. After XII (PCM), entrance tests have to be taken for getting admission to an architecture college or an engineering college having architecture departments. B. Arch is a 5 year course after plus two. Engineering drawing is a useful subject for prospective architects. Most architecture departments/schools select students through a written test. The post graduate course is generally 18 months to 2 years of duration.

Architects sometimes specialise in one type of work, for example, hospitals, schools, or housing. Others specialise in construction management or the management of their firm and do little design work. Speciailsation ranges from Urban Designing to Regional Planning, Building Engineering and Management, Landscape Architecture to Architecture concerning traffic and transport planning.

Course Summary

The teaching schedule at any architecture college includes design, engineering and technology, humanities, arts and crafts. Design courses aim at developing basic skills of drawing and an understanding of scale and measurement. Detailed studies on basic materials and construction techniques form part of this course. The emphasis is on the overall articulation of design work from the programme stage up to details, and preparation of drawings for execution of the project.

Courses in structures are organised through laboratory studies and model making. Subjects like drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography etc. are taught along with history of art and architecture, climatology, surveying and levelling, theory of structures and structural design, art (drawing and painting), materials and methods of construction, history of art and architecture. Estimating and costing are the important subjects studied in the three years. In the fourth year the major thrust is mainly on the facets which are practical, like methods of construction, application of the theory of structures, the do's and don'ts of professional practice. The B. Arch degree prepares the theoretical foundations and gives some practical insight on which a student later develops proficiency and functional accuracy.

List of some of the colleges and Universities imparting architecture courses across the country:

  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, B.Arch
  • Bihar College of Engineering, Patna, B.Arch
  • University College of Engineering and Technology, OUAT, Bhubaneswar, B.Arch
  • Bengal Engineering College, Howrah, B.Arch
  • Jadavpur University, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Calcutta, B.Arch
  • Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya Institute of Environmental Planning & Technology, Indore B.Arch
  • IPS Academy, School of Arch., Indore
  • Jiwaji University, Madhav Institute of Technology & Science, Gwalior, B.Arch.
  • Govt. Engineering College, Raipur, B.Arch
  • Lucknow University, Govt. College of Architecture, B.Arch
  • Aligarh University, Zakir Hussain College of Engineering & Technology, Aligarh B.Arch
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, B.Arch
  • Regional Engineering College, Allahabad, B.Arch
  • School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, B.Arch, Planning, M.Arch, Urban Design, Bldg. Mgmt, Landscape Arch, Master in planning with specialisation in regional planning housing, urban transport & Environmental planning
  • Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurgaon, B.Arch
  • TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi, B.Arch
  • Vastu Kala Academy, School of Architecture & Interior Designing, New Delhi, B.Arch
  • Choturam State College of Engineering, Murthal, B.Arch
  • Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, B.Arch
  • Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh, M.Arch

Some colleges base their selection on class XII marks and also conduct an entrance examination. Some colleges like to judge artistic ability. The Indian Institute of Technology selects candidates through a Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

Finding architecture jobs

Architectural positions are easier to find than many residential design openings. Many firms advertise in the newspaper and other job search sites. Architecture Colleges and Institutes maintain relationships with architectural firms and the industry for campus placements. Public sector organisations also offer opportunities to architecture graduates. Moreover the architectural industry is substantially larger than the interior design field, but individual communities can be small, so networking and getting to know people within the industry is the key.

For Comments: psjamwal@amity.edu

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