Architecture as a Career Option
Nowadays, in metros and other urban areas, we often see beautiful buildings and other structures which are well designed and constructed. Designing is an important factor that we have to keep in mind while building new houses or any other similar structures. Planning and design are important for sustainability. We are talking about designing and sustainability today because we shall publish about architecture as a career option in today’s edition.
Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing and constructing buildings or any other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements. The term architecture is also used metaphorically to refer to the design of organizations and other abstract concepts.
It is the area of study which deals with the designing and planning of buildings and structures and the spaces between them. Architecture is a highly competitive and multi-disciplinary profession which involves a variety of tasks at work. This is a field which covers various fields including spatial design, aesthetics, safety management, material management, etc.
Students from science backgrounds may appear for entrances after the Senior Secondary level for admission into architecture courses. There are entrances like the Joint Entrance Examination and National Aptitude Test in Architecture. After clearing the entrances, students may take admission into graduate-level courses in different engineering colleges or other architectural institutes. As there is more awareness about JEE, so we are writing more about NATA in this edition for the benefit of our readers and students.
National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) is being conducted by COA since 2006, in terms of the provisions of COA (Minimum Standards of Architectural Education) Regulations, 1983, published in the Gazette of India. It is implied that a separate aptitude test in Architecture should be conducted and such a test should not be combined with the tests for admissions to Engineering, Pharmacy, Medicine and other disciplines.
Being the competent authority for fixing norms and standards for architectural institutions, COA has the necessary expertise to hold a Common Aptitude Test in Architecture, at the national level to provide a single-window system for appearing in aptitude test and to facilitate institutions, students and the public at large for admission to the first year of 5 year B.Arch. degree course at all recognized Institutions all over the country.
The purpose of conducting NATA is to provide a single scheme of examination for holding aptitude test and to facilitate prospective students all over the country to apply for admissions in architecture seats in institutions spread across the country and to avoid appearing in multiple aptitude tests. However, the actual admissions shall be carried out only by the concerned competent authorities of the respective States/institutions, based on NATA.
The NATA also ensures that the eligibility criteria for admission to the five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree course, as prescribed by CoA and duly approved by the Central Government, are strictly adhered to and followed all over the country in Architectural Institutions.
NATA measures the aptitude of the applicant for a specific field of study, i.e. Architecture. The test makes an assessment of drawing and observation skills, sense of proportion, aesthetic sensitivity, mathematics and critical thinking ability that have been acquired over a long period of time and are related to the specific field of study.
There are many web portals that offer free online architecture courses and MOOCs from top institutions around the world. Study architecture history, urban planning, architectural design, and more. MIT's introductory course, ‘A Global History of Architecture’, is a perfect starting point for anyone with a general interest in architecture and design. Interested students may register and complete some of these online courses as many of them are free too.
Any person desirous of carrying on the profession as 'Architect' must have a registration with the Council of Architecture. For the purpose of registration, one must possess the recognized qualifications as appended to the Architects Act, after having undergone the education in accordance with the Council of Architecture Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations. The registration with the Council of Architecture entitles a person to use the title and style of Architect, for practicing the profession of architecture. If any person falsely represents or claims to be registered as an architect or uses any words or letters to suggest that s/he is an architect or misuses title and style of architect, such acts tantamount to committing of a criminal offense punishable under the Architects Act, 1972.
An architect may work with different government agencies, private firms, corporate houses, etc. Many become consultants and start their own companies or firms. To get quick placement, aspirants may think of acquiring further specializations after their courses. As there is much talk about planning and design in rural and urban areas, so one may get engaged in different areas, provided he or she possess employability skills apart from the required qualifications.
(Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted a career awareness program in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at email@example.com or 8473943734 for any career-related queries.)
Ranjan K Baruah