More often than not, architecture is presumed to be a promising career option for those with a flair for drawing and painting among many Indian households. Preconceived by the notion that the curriculum resembles that of an art school, driven more by creativity than mere theoretical knowledge, the architecture course often finds itself appealing to a large number of students opting for a professional degree at university. 

However, contradicting all prior understandings of what the programme constitutes and the many misapprehensions of the common folk, every passing year at architecture school reveals a new dimension of the vast subject and unfolds some of its many entrancing complexities. These are the steps of almost every architect in the making, to explore the unknown by beginning first with a breaking of the known.    

Nurturing Aspirations

Like stepping into a magical kingdom, an architecture school welcomes ambitious students into a comfortable environment brightly lit by rays of sunshine and with a cover of crisp warm air composed of wild dreams that are believed to come true. To design iconic buildings that would soar proudly amid a city’s skyline and to be one among renowned architects, such as Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, etc., whose works are known for their futuristic forms, are some common fantasies shared by many fresh minds when they begin the programme. Hence, this stage experiences the main objectives of exploring the depths of one’s creativity and fostering innovative design thinking. 

Additionally, the learning includes an understanding of what space is and the various basic elements such as points, lines and surfaces that could define it, make it pleasing and allow the space to function as required. It should thus be assumed that at this point, drawing and painting cease to exist as just hobbies as these skills are enhanced and promoted to assist in the profession.

Breaking And Making: The Road to becoming an Architect - Sheet1
Understanding space_©Superstudio

Aspirations Meet Reality

As one treads further into this kingdom and its realms, the initial excitement slowly begins to fade as new explorations become difficult due to the advent of several protocols and parameters. Introduction to bye-laws, structural and material limitations, and the need to tend to programme requirements, thought processes to approach design projects are changed. The development of form and aesthetics scale down to a  bare minimum as adhering to function becomes most important. 

Furthermore, this transition is accompanied by the realisation that architecture is not only a genre of visual arts but an impressive amalgamation of several subjects including science and technology, humanities, psychology, sociology and economics. A bit of a struggle is quite common at this stage, as pre-existing ideologies are updated to accept realities and therefore new goals may find themselves waiting in line to be developed. 

To hold on to the foundations and still go higher and wider by thinking about the collective good and creating pleasant experiences, instead of just seeking to attain personal satisfaction and recognition, is what begins to pose as a challenge at this point. Hence marks the completion of the first three or probably four years of the architecture course.

Breaking And Making: The Road to becoming an Architect - Sheet2
The introductions of parameters_©

Creating Not Sculptures, But Purposes

Every architect has a unique meaning for the term ‘architecture’ and what it must represent. Many fortunate students realise their unique call and an understanding of their intentions in the final stages of traversing the kingdom and exit with fixed purposes. And these purposes vary according to individual interests and personal motivations. To some, it is a collaboration to bring people together, to build a community and enable living in harmony. 

Others who believe that it is a means of promoting local craftsmen and other small-scale businesses, to enhance livelihoods and create opportunities. Furthermore, other needs of the hour and missions that architects tend to are preserving cultural identities of places and retaining their values, or exploring sustainable practices to save resources and give back to the earth what is being taken from it or even discovering new products or materials to assist construction and living. Whatever the dreams, the central goal will forever be dedicated to building lives for the better.

Building ommunities_©Max Guther


Far from the assumptions about architecture school, the magical kingdom, in reality, intends to enable students to create profound livelihoods. This new dream is realised with experience and it supports the argument that architecture may not be all about the display, but rather about the service. A noble profession after all, only unknown to many. Beauty matters of course, because the age-old practice of liking what one sees remains eternal. However, to like what one remembers as a memorable experience and an induction of great joy and comfort are concepts gained at architecture school. 

Although this process of metamorphosis occurs for the first time upon entering architecture school for one’s undergraduate studies, it repeats at various stages during practice in the field. Because to wander across various kingdoms and to come out victorious denotes one’s might and potential. 


Sri Lalitha Yeleswarapu has recently graduated as an architect and is looking to find her place and role in the field. She sees architecture as a medium to cleverly and innovatively craft a narrative that is memorable, unbiased and promises a happy ending;storylines createdthrough writing, sketches or design.