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Architectural Internship in India – Manoj Mathur opines

An internship should be treated as a training in maturity. Rather than be viewed as a filler for that which a school cannot teach, internships should be viewed as a space to absorb what cannot be learned without experiencing it in the raw.

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Student internship is a quintessential part of an architectural education. However, it is increasingly becoming an unmitigated ordeal for many within the community. Affecting both students and practicing architects, the workforce imbalance and issues of ineptitude have created an unfavourable – and often exploitative – situation.   Inviting the opinions of architects, educators and students, we strive to start a conversation about what can be done to improve this situation. Below, Prof. Manoj Mathur – formerly, Principal Architect of Mathur & Kapre Associates – shares his opinions  about the issue.


Architectural Internship in India - Manoj Mathur opines 1Only a very drastic reduction in the number of prospective interns has any hope of arresting the widening demand-supply gap. Of the number of students graduating every year, the percentage of professionals setting up new practices – or even continuing gainful employment in architectural practices – is likely dropping. Hence, we are in an inverse multiplication, where every successful intern has less than a 100% chance of mentoring one in future – whereas we are looking to a capacity of 200% or more, from the professional end.

Perhaps it is time to broaden the scope of internship. If we agree that the objective of an architectural education is not to set up practices only, but also to prepare professionals capable of doing several jobs, then why insist on an internship under a registered architect? How about an internship in a construction firm under a site engineer? Or in a real estate consultancy under an MBA? Or in an NGO building rural water-harvesting ponds under a MSW? Or in a magazine under a sub-editor? Or under a photographer? Or an urban installation artist?

An internship should be treated as a training in maturity. Rather than be viewed as a filler for that which a school cannot teach, internships should be regarded as a space to absorb what cannot be learned without experiencing it in the raw. Sure, it means that training programs will have to be re-written wholesale. However, the good news is that there is no shortage of ideas. We just have to overcome our Council-compliance fears.


Architectural Internship in India - Manoj Mathur opines 3Manoj Mathur was one of the Founding Directors at Mathur and Kapre Associates. He is currently a full time professor and Head of Department of Architecture at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

4 Responses

  1. Sure Architecture is mother of many arts. Architecture colleges provide a foundation to ride the specialisation chosen by an individual. For instance, Where would a specialist perspectivists would have come from, pre 3D modelling era? Do we produce Architectural journalists and critics out there with specialised Architectural photography skills? Why one should be dependent on HVAC professionals only to get textbook designs for their projects, in stead of thinking out of the box to create energy efficient architevtural designs to accomodate their own ideas for effective HVAC.
    A great initiative indeed, needs to be explored for proper guidance to the generations of professionals to come.

  2. Wholeheartedly agree. People from SPA are now employed in diverse fields and doing well for thenselves. So essentially the skill sets that we are armed with in college holds in good stead pan various professions . So why restrict the training opportunities?

  3. Diversifying internship is a Great idea Mathurji..,though reducing students is the real solution which is not in our hands.
    If we have to allow diverse internship,, we need to create diversity in education too ..to prepare students accordingly.

    Prof.
    Sathya Prakash Varanashi
    Bangalore

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