Who doesn’t love to enjoy the beauty of the Taj Mahal, soak in the aura of the Eiffel tower or be awestruck by the majesty of Sydney’s Opera House? Architecture enjoys the legacy of being one of the oldest professions in the world. From the great pyramids of Giza in Egypt dating back to 2500 BC to the 163 storied tall Burj Khalifa, it has only evolved with time. An architect knows something about everything. He/she has knowledge of design, art, history, physics, sociology, psychology, symbology, political processes and numerous other fields. There is perhaps no other profession that requires one to integrate such a broad range of knowledge into something so specific and concrete.
WHAT DO ARCHITECTS DO?
An architect is a generalist, not a specialist. As a practitioner, an architect coordinates a team of professionals that include structural and mechanical engineers, interior designers, building-code consultants, landscape architects, specifications writers, contractors, and specialists from other disciplines. An architect must know enough about each discipline to negotiate and synthesize competing demands while honoring the needs of the client and the integrity of the entire project.
The work of the architect can be described in following 5 phases:
- CONCEPTUAL DESIGN PHASE
- Gain an understanding of the scope of the project to be built for the client.
- Develop preliminary concepts & ideas for the project.
- DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PHASE
- Prepare a layout pertaining to the required functions and demands of the client.
- Finalize the building materials, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural aspects of the project in conjunction with the design.
- Present the project along with a cost estimate to the client for approval
- CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENT PHASE
- Produce “good for construction” drawings along with the specifications.
- Send the construction drawings to potential contractors for bidding.
- BIDDING OR NEGOTIATION PHASE
- Prepare the bid documents to help the client to understand the overall labor and material cost required to execute the project.
- Assist the client in evaluating & selecting the winning proposal.
- CONSTRUCTION PHASE
- Monitor the construction of the project by coordinating with the contractor.
- Address questions or issues which arise on the construction site and issue additional drawings if required.
TOP GLOBAL COMPANIES WHICH HIRE ARCHITECTS
A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ARCHITECT
There is probably no such thing as a typical day, as an architect’s activities vary from day to day, depending on the progress of the project. Every commission, every task is different. Boredom or lack of challenge is rarely a problem. Architects do a variety of things:
- They design: They plan, they visualise, they relate, they select, they discard, they synthesise and develop solutions.
- They draw: From simple diagrams to show relationships between spaces and activities to complete detailed working drawings showing every last detail, and from which contractors and subcontractors will estimate the cost of the work and subsequently construct it.
- They write: Architects prepare written documentation of their projects, present analysis, write material for reports and presentations and write up specifications which, with the working drawings, define the project.
- They speak: Architects make presentations to clients, discuss design problems and alternative solutions.
- They calculate: They must be able to prepare construction budgets; they must be able to understand structural analysis, heat loads, electrical distribution and traffic flow.
- They manage: Architects must manage their design projects from ideas to the complete construction process. During the construction phase, architects may review the work in progress; they interpret drawings and specifications, resolve job difficulties and monitor the progress of the work.
HOW TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT?
During the last decade, India has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the number of institutions imparting
Architectural education, from less than 100 to about 450 institutions. In total, these 450 institutions can enroll
around 24,000 students per year at present. However, please note this number is very small compared to that
for Engineering (15 lakhs).
STEP 1 : Choose Science after 10th and prepare for Competitive Entrance Exams
You must take Mathematics as a compulsory subject after class 10th to be eligible for admission to Architecture colleges in India. Admission to most colleges happen through National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA). Additionally, you have to appear in Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Mains for admission into Architecture programs of National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Architecture Aptitude Test (AAT) for admission into Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). However, please note that not all NITs and IITs have Architecture programs.
NATIONAL APTITUDE TEST IN ARCHITECTURE (NATA)
Conducted by Council of Architecture (CoA), NATA is the single examination for admission to undergraduate level Architecture courses in all government and private colleges in India except NITs and IITs. Different government and private agencies then use their own selection criteria to prepare a merit list of students. For example, admission to Sir JJ School of Architecture is managed by University of Mumbai and that of Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad is managed by Commissionerate of Technical Education, Gujrat state.
|Distribution of Marks
|Part A (First 90 minutes)
Mathematics (20 Qs)
|20 x 2
General Aptitude (40 Qs)
|40 x 2
|Part B (last 90 minutes)
Drawing (2 Qs)
|2 x 40
Syllabus for Part A is similar to the mathematics syllabus for JEE Mains.For an exhaustive list of topics refer to the information brochure available on official website of NATA. Part B is a drawing test. The candidate has to attempt two questions within 90 minutes. The drawing aptitude is judged on the following aspects-
Freehand Drawing – This would comprise of simple drawing depicting the total object in its right form and proportion, surface texture, relative location and details of its component parts in appropriate scale. Common domestic or day-to day life usable objects like furniture, equipment,etc., from memory.
Geometrical Drawing – Exercises in geometrical drawing containing lines, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, circles, etc. Study of plan (top view), elevation (front or side views) of simple solid objects like prisms, cones, cylinders, cubes, splayed surface holders, etc.
Three-dimensional Perception – Understanding and appreciation of three-dimensional forms with building elements, colour, volume and orientation. Visualization through structuring objects in memory.
Imagination and aesthetic sensitivity – Composition exercise with given elements. Context mapping. Creativity check through innovative uncommon test with familiar objects. Sense of colour grouping or application.
Architectural Awareness – General interest and awareness of famous architectural creations – both national and international, places and personalities (architects, designers, etc.) in the related domain
Syllabus of drawing test in paper 2 JEE Mains and Architecture aptitude test in JEE Advanced is same as that for NATA.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS OF DRAWING EXAM
Q1– Draw a rectangular frame of size 140mm x 210mm. In this frame, compose an aesthetic 3 – dimensional composition, appropriate to the size of the frame, comprising cubes, cones and cylinders. There is no restriction on numbers, sizes, placement and direction of these solids in this frame. Color your composition to make it visually exciting.
Q2– Draw the graphic given below, such that it is rotated clockwise at an angle of 90 degrees about the point “A”. Care should be taken to get the same sizes of all lines in the new rotated position.
Q3– Draw from memory a balloon seller, selling balloons to a group of small children.
STEP 2 : Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
To become an Architect, enroll in Bachelor in Architecture (B.Arch) program which is a 5-year program.
Top Indian Institutes of Architecture (Not in any particular order)
|Sir J.J College of Architecture, Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi and Academy of Architecture (Rachana Sansad) in Mumbai
|Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
|School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi
|Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad
|Chandigarh College of Architecture
|Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal
|National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
|Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, Ranchi
|R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore
|Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
STEP 3 : Earn license to practise as an Architect
After you graduate from school of Architecture, you apply to Council of Architecture for a license. They will go through your mark sheets, documents of your internship and grant you a license. You need to have a license before using the title of Architect.
|How long does it take to Metro rail for a new city or a building as tall as the Burj Khalifa? Many years. Who manages all the construction activities, ensures that all activities are completed on time while not exceeding the budget? Construction Managers. They coordinate with the architects, the planners, the engineers, the contractors and the construction workers, to create schedule, monitor project progress, etc.
|Urban and Regional Planner
|Who decides whether the swimming pool will be located and where would be the jogging track in your city? Urban Planners do. Typically, working for government or big construction companies, these people ensure that all facilities should be located so that pollution is minimum, people can access it conveniently, coordinate with different government officials to ensure that the project follows all local laws.
|Architects designed the Lotus Temple, but who designed the park surrounding it? Landscape Architects did. They design outdoor spaces using plants, trees, structures and other natural and manmade elements. They make these outdoor spaces user-friendly, sustainable, and pleasing to the senses using their knowledge of design, construction, ecology, botany, horticulture and soil science.
|Who designs the big aircraft carriers and ships you saw in “Avengers”? Naval Architects do. Similar to architects they prepare design, decide construction plan and assist marine engineers in construction and maintenance of ships, submarines and similar structures.
|An architect has designed your apartment building and a landscape architect designed the part in which you play every evening. But who has designed how your home looks from the inside? Interior Designers do. Depending on the requirement of the space, interior designers design and furnish interiors of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.They formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style.
EXPLORE THE FIELD
|Explore how much you can earn in different careers in Architecture with a B.Arch degree
|Read this article from Wetfeet on different paths in an Architecture career
|See this Council of Architecture list of all colleges offering Architecture education in India, by state and number of seats
|Watch Janice Nicole talking about a day in the life of a Landscape Architect in this YouTube video