The Council of Architecture (COA) has been constituted by the Government of India under the provisions of the Architects Act, 1972, enacted by the Parliament of India, which came into force on 1st September, 1972. The Act provides for registration of Architects, prescription of standards of education, recognized qualifications and standards of professional conduct to be complied with by the Architects.
The Council’s current President, Ar. Biswaranjan Nayak , who is also Chief Architect in the Government of Odisha is leaving no stone unturned to take the Council towards a new height – be it initiating new amendments in the Act or writing letters to the Government for sanction of lands at different parts of the country or standing up for quality architecture education - he seems to be doing it all! Knowing about the activities, Surfaces Reporter was keen on understanding the current working in details. Over to Ar. Nayak…
1. The Council of Architecture was moved from HRD Ministry to Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in May this year. How will it impact the architectural education and practice in India?
This is only what we’ve been hearing in the news and as of now there is no official communication to us. It is too early to speak anything in this regard. Moreover, if CoA gets shifted to some other nodal ministry it doesn’t affect our functioning. Because it is being an autonomous body, it functions under the provisions of the Architects Act 1972 and Rules and Regulations framed thereunder. However, we prefer that CoA should be shifted to Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) where our role will be more effective in the context of physical development of cities.
As far as education is concerned, Council is empowered to regulate education under the provision of the Architects Act 1972. Though there are certain over lapping of provision in the AICTE Act, many Courts in the country have already upheld the Authority of CoA in Architectural Education. In reality, Architects Act, 1972 is a Special Act enacted in the year 1972 and over ride any general Act such as AICTE Act which came later.
2. Is the Council also involved in supporting Government initiatives for smart cities, Housing for all and other projects?
The Council is directly not involved because it is a regulatory body which doesn’t have direct participation in any such kind of initiatives. It is the professional body like Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and can extend their role in this matter. As of now the Government has not taken any visible steps to include architects in the Smart City Mission initiatives and CoA has already expressed its concern to the Central Government.
3. It’s been one year as President, COA, how has been your tenure so far. Also share the biggest achievements so far and the way forward.
It is very challenging! Role of CoA as a Regulatory Body for education and profession was confined with limited activities which have been extended to a new horizon. The following highlights will speak about our attempt to provide a new shape to education and profession:
1. Opening of five Zonal Training and Research Centres in India. CoA has applied to various State Governments and Union Territory for allotment of land in Delhi, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Bhopal to initial start five zonal centres.
(a) To provide extensive training programmes to Faculties, Students and Professionals to improve quality of education and profession as well.
(b) To provide two tier ECBC Training Programme on energy efficient buildings through MoU executed with Bureau of Energy Efficient Department and issue certification of Auditors after practical experience on live projects.
(c) To establish E-Library, Museum/Archive of documentation and project drawings of Master Architects.
(d) To provide Skill Development Training Programme to persons involved in construction of building activities.
(e) Exhibiting of new building materials and building technology.
(f) Taking of conservation projects at different State level by listing heritage buildings and documenting them by the support of faculties and students as a part of course curriculum activities. Preparing Guidelines for controlled development of heritage structures in India.
2. Conducting of one time offline aptitude test examination through NATA to restrict students of appropriate merit to take admission in B.Arch. course. It has encouraged only quality students to join to promote Architectural profession.
3. CoA has taken initiative to establish Architecture as an Electivem subject at +2 level with PCM background at the Government level. Government has virtually approved and the matter is in progress. This was intended to sensitise young students about the stream of Architecture and prepared them to follow a fruitful career in latter stage. It would also generate employment to a large number and boost up the National economy.
4. Every year, we see the issue of internship. What steps is the Council taking towards mitigating this issue for absorbing interns and giving proper training?
Over a period of years, there has been a mushrooming of architectural colleges without considering the actual requirement of the students with respect to the need of Architects in the country. Let me tell you that architecture is a different kind of profession and demands an altogether different kind of approach towards education. For example, in our field students learn more from the hands-on experience they get from the industry rather than just the text books.
We learn from our great architects we have been observing and following. They are the real teachers. Therefore, we have deliberately made the provision of a 6 month’s internship in the 8th and 9th semester of B.Arch. Course. We are trying to balance the number of students with the industry’s absorption limit. The moment the Act is amended this problem of unemployment in architecture would be automatically solved, as a result of increased number of firms. It is always for the benefit of the public. People have been thinking anyone can learn and practice architecture, but it is not like that. For a person to become a seasoned architect, he has to undergo a process of formal education. Like the west, there should be stringent assessment process in order to filter out the best from the league. The CoA is also taking action against quacks representing as “Architects”.
5. Which regulations come under the purview of the Council?
Architectural education and profession both come under the purview of COA.
People have been thinking anyone can learn and practice architecture, but it is not like that. For a person to become a seasoned architect, he has to undergo a process of formal education. Like the west, there should be stringent assessment process in order to filter out the best from the league. The CoA is also taking action against quacks representing as “Architects”
6. Young Practicing Architects often feel that it would be great addition to include Practical Business Management for Architectural Practice as part of the curriculum, what is your opinion on this?
The internship we are providing is itself intended to do this task of teaching these business management skills. For example, the Building Engineering Management specialization is included in the post graduation course. Our main objective in B.Arch. is not just meant to give students some specialization but to first teach them the grammar of architecture i.e. how to design buildings, create and articulate the spaces, proper planning etc,. which are more important to learn at this stage. Other managerial knowledge or specializations can be in filled in the students at a later stage.
7. ‘Model-making Laboratories are a must in architectural colleges’ you said last year. How has the implementation been so far?
We are working towards creating Zonal Research and Training Centers - these centers will surely have such Model-making labs. We have sent letters to 5 State Governments asking for land, amongst all, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha are almost ready to grant us land. While for the land at Bangalore the process is on. For Mumbai and Delhi, it may take some time. It will be of great support if we get the land from the Government and we are hopeful that the Government will surely allot us land after observing necessary modalities.
8. In one of your talks ‘Changing Role of Professional Institutions’ you mentioned “Architects need to work with the Government to ensure that Development is decentralised. We also need to speak up when development that can adversely impact the ecology is undertaken.” Please elaborate on this.
Developments today are more focussed on the urban areas, we need to decentralize it. When the development takes place in a single place then there is a migration from the rural areas to the urban areas, which in-turn come under pressure. So we wish to decentralize that pressure from one particular area.
I believe a particular place is developed because of the amenities and infrastructure provided. Don’t you think if all these amenities are provided to the rural areas as well and the same kind of development takes place in the rural areas, the people would never have to leave their native places? When the rural people do not have such support system i.e. they cannot afford to pay the architects, the architects are also not moving to the rural areas. That is why they are all concentrating in the urban areas. Appointment of more architects in the Government specially at Taluka and District level will help people in rural areas in shaping physical development and infrastructure in proper order. There should be separate individual architectural departments in all state Governments to function independently to avoid their creative ability being subdued by other professionals.
9. Tell us about your journey so far. Did you always want to be an architect?
I cherish in being an architect. Apart from being President of the Council, I am also the Chief Architect in the Government of Orissa and carrying my role effectively. We need to develop our system of operation in all the State Governments so that this profession can be carried out more effectively. There is a need to integrate many related allied building services like electrical, P.H., structure, fire fighting, air conditioning, sound engineering and infrastructure support system under the domain of the Architecture Department to fruitfully deliver comprehensive design before execution of any project. This will substantially minimise the waste of natural resources and man power giving rise to huge saving of national economy.
10. We are curious to know, is there certain protocol Government is following through which the Council is recommending solutions for initiatives that need intervention of architects?
We have forwarded our several proposals to Government and waiting for their approval. We have set up a committee to review the standard cadre restructuring pattern in the Government for proper functioning of the Architecture Departments to conduct building activities in different States and Union Territories. We have further constituted a committee under the convenorship of Ar. Charanjit Singh Shah to highlight the role of Architects in Smart City Mission activities and conduct various programmes in the country to extend adequate knowledge in the subject.
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