The architectural profession is a holistic realm with a set of understandings and rules that have evolved over time. Architecture has evolved in many ways and has now entered the era of technological advancements and artificial intelligence. but the real question is are students of architecture trained in ways to cope with these changes happening in the real world? Conventional teaching and education modules with their benefits fail to convey a comprehensive picture of the field of architecture. It has been discussed on many forums and platforms, how architectural education needs to be modified according to the changing times. Architecture requires a 5 year long formal training with additional years to acquire specialization in any avenue of the profession. Having to dedicate a such significant amount of time, one would expect to learn everything and to be ready to step into the field. But that is not the reality, architecture is an ever-evolving field. The rules of architecture change according to time, geography, environment, socio-cultural aspects, and how every individual perceives it. Can anyone ever know-it-all all in such a field?

The Gap between Architectural Education and Practice in Today's Scenario - Sheet1
The Training_ ©The Michigan University
The Gap between Architectural Education and Practice in Today's Scenario - Sheet
The expectations_ © S.Coates

Architectural education teaches students right from the origins of the field up to the multiple possibilities of the applications taught in architecture. While some have embraced and accepted the changes in the professions, there remains a huge gap between what students learn and what they are expected to do when they step into the world as fresh architects.

 Architecture is a beautiful amalgamation of art, technology, and human emotions. It serves the community and contributes largely to the society that we live in. One can say that architecture is more of a way of life than just a profession. It awakens emotions and lets people feel spaces. Isn’t that kind of beautiful- when a structure or an inanimate object has the capability of creating and interpreting emotions and feelings? that is what I believe is the very basis of architecture. There have been advancements to aid the process of creation; but not for these advancements to take over the essence of architecture. 

The Gap between Architectural Education and Practice in Today's Scenario - Sheet3
Opportunities in architecture_©https://blog.cindrebay.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/unnamed-10.jpg

So the question arises, how is the course for such a diverse profession designed? The course must develop a system that also focuses on the practical aspect of the field and not just theoretical. In this extensive course, it is also important that the students have a chance to explore the opportunities in architecture. It is not just limited to architectural practice these days, the fields of journalism, photography,  3D visualization, and BIM are also equally important. It is a great thing to see these avenues being welcomed and appreciated in the architectural fraternity and would create a real impact if introduced in the curriculum from the beginning. An isolated approach in this field created a gap between the reality of practice and the knowledge imparted. This not only creates difficulties for students but also for practicing architects who have to train these fresh graduates as they step into the practical world. For the architectural community to thrive, and for it to create an impact on the social scene is of utmost importance. 

While the education system today is slowly adapting to the changing social and technological norms, it is at times not enough to give a full picture to the students. Many people are not even aware of the scope of architecture. It is not mere sketching, drawing, and aesthetics- it is a thoughtful, extensive process that requires a deep understanding of not just architecture but of all the skills required to make a design complete in every sense. For society to understand the role of architecture and its importance, we must first make sure that the individuals actively involved in this field have equal opportunities, social respect, and the right training. 

Why does it all come down to the educational period? 

It is the prime phase in any individual’s life when they form their belief system, and their work styles and also develop a sense of understanding of how the world around them works. It is therefore very important that they are educated in ways that allow them to make rational and sensitive decisions. As students who step into this field with many aspirations and fresh perspectives, with time they realize the scope of what architecture is. Whilst it is a profession with no limits to what one can explore, it also limits the same ideas by a certain set of rules. While it is said that there is nothing right or wrong about architecture, the same cannot be seen in the world, where architecture a limited by many practical aspects. 

The Reality_ ©Leewardists

It is a wonderful experience of understanding something as rich, diverse, and integral as architecture. But a proper structure to how this knowledge is imparted with the cognizance of the evolution of the field would be a stepping stone in providing students who aspire to contribute positively to society one day. There are many ways in which architecture makes this world a better place, and the most important of them happens to be the idea that it ‘tries’ to bridge the gap between imagination and reality.  With good opportunities, students in this field would discover many more parts of what architecture has to offer us. 

A balance between theory and practice must be established early, thus giving students the chance to fully comprehend the profession. This would help in a smooth transition to the practical world after college life. While such major changes take time, it is hopeful to see a few steps being taken for the betterment of architectural education. While it is appreciated we must also make sure that we move forward together as a group of people who want to contribute and bring a real change to the world we live in. 

With a hope for better times and opportunities for architects – we can grow as a society, and as a nation in more than one way. With the right direction and education, we can create architects who aim to improve this world.

Author

Manaswi is a student who is exploring various avenues of architecture. She is an amateur photographer and loves to observe more than what meets the eye. Her deep interest in the human mind and architecture has given her a different perspective on life in general.

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