On October 1, 2012, Prof. Uday Gadkari, became President of the Council of Architecture, India by way of elections. The profession and architecture education in India in the last few years has witnessed rapid changes. This can be attributed to changing needs of society and rapid development in technologies.
In the recent past Council of Architecture has faced many allegations and it has been sailing through a turbulent phase. We would highly suggest that you also read our past posts on the Council of Architecture to understand some of the issues. Links below:
AL! – Congratulations on being elected as the President of the Council of Architecture. The fraternity of Architects, including many young architects who are part of this portal, have many expectations from you and the Council of Architecture, India (CoA). Thus, we hope this interaction will facilitate a better understanding of COA’s role in shaping the professional and academic future of Architects in India.
You become an elected leader of the supreme body of Architects in India. The election process and the politics and campaigning behind this process must have left a bad aftertaste, with much negativity being spread around by some members. You must be eager to leave this behind and move ahead with a positive resolve.
UG – Members representing more than 200 architecture colleges, along with IIA and the majority of State Govt./ other representatives chose me for the post of the ‘President of the Council of Architecture’. I thank them for the confidence they have reposed in me.
In my career spanning 30 years so far in Architectural Education, Profession and in the CoA itself I have neither involved myself in any politics nor let negativity affect my agenda because progress is everyone’s business.
I want my term as the president to be remembered for unifying our members and renewing the architectural spirit and sense of purpose. I seek the good wishes, support and cooperation of all architects and co-professionals for the agenda of progress and development.
AL! – What changes do you expect the CoA to undergo over the duration of your term, to stay relevant given today’s needs and expectations?
UG – As architecture is a knowledge-based service; we cannot offer any quick-fix solution for the same. There needs to be a lot of cyclical changes in our ecosystem right from the institutional, professional, administrative and government levels.
We are working on making our students industry-ready by initiating various Training Programmes for teachers and students, Entrepreneurship Development Programmes and encouraging Industry-Institute Partnerships. For architectural practice to survive the threat of globalization, it is necessary that we have a quality monitoring system in place. Skill and scale-up-gradation is the key to survival now. Interdisciplinary and corporate firms have to be promoted to capitalize on and participate in India’s growth story.
AL! – The COA is often seen as a cold, distant headmaster, primarily because of its main role as a regulatory body. Young and emerging Architects seem alienated from the role and purpose of the CoA. How do you think the CoA can improve upon that and become more ‘friendly’?
UG – The role of the CoA is defined and hence limited by Architects Act, 1972. However, since then many transformations have taken place and realities have changed. Amending the Act is a time-consuming affair and has always met bureaucratic bottlenecks. Maximizing the collective wisdom of the fraternity will be a priority in my term. Frequent communiqué and updates will be issued from the CoA to all the members, institutions and professionals. The potential of the web and social media shall be harnessed for involving the youth. Various committees and expert groups will be constituted to fast-track growth in pending and new areas of opportunity and challenge.
AL! – You have been a prominent academician for many years. What role do you see our schools of architecture have in shaping the future of our profession? What are your expectations from these schools?
UG – The falling standards of mass education is a contagion that has engulfed Architectural Education as well. The poor quality of work and professionalism need no mention. Out of the many responsibilities and duties, one of the essential elements in imparting Architectural education is the process of simplification. The teacher has to simplify matters enough for a student to understand. In a profession which depends upon visual effects, it becomes all the more important to simplify verbal and written matter into graphic displays easy enough for the students.
Our local response to Western trends and ideas, concepts and theories can be made through indigenization. Indigenous response to Indigenous peoples. It would not be an Architecture of the masses, nor will there be a national trend. The emphasis should be in emphasizing the locality, to identify the locality and our diversity lends itself to this kind of definition. Hence, as teachers of Architecture, we have to be familiar with the trends and devise methodologies based on our diversity. We as teachers should be clear in our minds as to what all the students should know in order to develop. Out of this will emerge a theory of our own most suited to us.
An architectural college is arguably intended to teach students self-learning, time management, and critical thinking. Similar to any program of study, it is difficult to keep up with a rapidly evolving profession and there is always room for improvement.
Industry Institute Partnership forms an important activity for any academic institute as its stakeholders interact with the real world. Firstly, the students are benefited due to exposure to current industry practices, updation is possible as and when changes occur in technology, teaching faculty get sensitized to the latest practices leading them to blend practice with usual theoretical teaching methods.
AL! – A few months back, there was tremendous activity towards the implementation of many changes in the Architects Act of 1972, making it more holistic, contextual to reality and current with today’s requirements. What happened to that movement, and when can we hope to have these changes implemented?
UG – We have been trying to seek the intervention of the judiciary to get our rightful status. Since the matter pertains to the judiciary and the Union Ministry of HRD, I am unable to give any time frame for the resolution of this issue. However, our sincere attempts are on.
AL! – Briefly, what are the biggest challenges that CoA is expected to face in the coming years, and how are you preparing to gear up for that?
UG – Continuing the spirit and autonomy of the Architects’ Art 1972 remains one of the major challenges in front of us today.
The next big challenge for the CoA is being relevant in the Indian and global context. We have to move forward and adopt Credit-Based Continuing Education Programmes and License Registration Examinations in spite of all opposition. We cannot afford to remain out of sync with the realities of the globalized market.
AL! – Lastly, we request a message from the President, of the Council of Architecture for the Architects’ fraternity in India.
UG – We need to prepare ourselves for the challenges and opportunities alike. All of us have to think beyond our short-term gains and support the agenda of research, reforms and revival which will lead to a brighter future for our fraternity.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________Credits: Pulkit Soni (proofreading)