Career Focus

Career Focus

Rising demand for qualified architects

With growing public awareness that urban habitats need to be neat, well-laid out living spaces, the demand for professionally trained architects is growing exponentially

Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation of the Indian economy has generated huge demand for business and residential premises, especially in urban India, with investment in the real estate market slated to grow from $14 billion to $102 billion (Rs.408,000 crore) per year during the next decade. Moreover with growing public awareness that urban habitats need to be neat, well-laid out living spaces, the demand for professionally trained architects is growing exponentially.

Architecture is the art and science of conceptualising and designing residential, office, industrial and other buildings. As such, architects have to assume responsibility for planning and designing functionally sound, aesthetically appealing structures in harmony with their environment, and within the boundaries of agreed project budgets.

For prospective architecture students, study of mathematics and English at the Plus Two level is mandatory. Admission into architecture degree programmes also requires clearance of the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture, Pune (a unit of the Council of Architecture).

The full-time architecture degree (B.Arch) programme is of five years duration. The study programme includes a period of work experience either in the form of practical training for one semester or experience at a project site. A part-time diploma course takes seven years to complete.

After completing the bachelor of architecture (B.Arch) degree programme, students can press on to acquire a Master’s and specialise in a preferred field of the discipline — urban planning, urban design, architectural construction, property development, industrial design, construction law, disaster relief, architectural journalism, architectural history, landscape architecture etc. Moreover qualified architects have to register with the Council of Architects to practice the profession.

Among the most reputable architecture education institutes are the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi; Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad; the Sir J.J. School of Architecture, Mumbai, the oldest and largest fine arts college in Asia; Chandigarh College of Architecture; School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai; Faculty of Technology & Engineering, MS University, Baroda; TYB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi; IIT-Mesra, Ranchi; University of Roorkee, Uttar Pradesh.

With India’s residential housing shortage estimated at a massive 25 million units by HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd), newly qualified graduates are snapped up by architectural firms at starting salaries of Rs.10,000 per month. After a few years of hands-on experience, remuneration packages can swell to Rs.18,000-25,000 per month, and for those who go solo, the sky’s the limit.

"Job opportunities are aplenty for professionally qualified architects, especially those who can design memorable buildings. With industrial-isation and urbanisation, the country’s housing shortage is getting worse by the day. Unfortunately most qualified architects are obliged to work under the pressure and influence of developers and big builders intent on profit maximisation. As a result generous spatial planning and design are often sacrificed on the altar of expediency. Hence reputed architects like Charles Correa, Rusi Cambata, B.V. Doshi don’t get involved with builders launching big projects," says Shrikant Sathe, a renowned architect with 46 years of experience in the field, whose firm Sathe & Associates has to its credit a huge body of work, including some of the country’s finest buildings.

An alumnus of Sir J.J. School of Arts & Architecture, Mumbai, Sathe began his career in the family firm of M/s Master Sathe & Kothari, promoted by his father L.V. Sathe in 1930, and promoted his own firm Sathe & Associates in 1975. His work portfolio includes industrial and commercial complexes — banks, educational institutes, hospitals, cinema halls, hotels, residential buildings and bungalows across the country.

Closely involved with architectural education as a visiting professor at the MMC College of Architecture, Pune since 1997, IES College of Architecture in Mumbai since 2001 and as an examiner of the architecture degree course of Mumbai and Pune universities since 1995, Sathe advocates continuous revision of education syllabuses and curriculums. "I believe the B.Arch degree course should be regularly revised, and fresh B.Arch graduates should intern for two years under a senior architect before being licensed," he says.

Crystal ball gazing, Sathe believes new ICT (information communication technologies) have globalised the architect’s profession. "Today, with globalisation, the tele-communications revolution and computerisation, architects in Mumbai are designing buildings in Dubai and across Asia. Moreover with CCTV, architects can also reduce their site visits. The future is certainly bright for those opting for this creative vocation," says Sathe.

Indra Gidwani (Mumbai)