A good piece of Architecture is a mirror to the society that represents the form of societal modules with homogeneous structures and organizations. It is a profession where the collaboration work process involves and represents community participation. In the current scenario, architectural practices are changing because of the change in fundamental learnings, i.e., architectural education.

Nowadays, the teaching strategies are changing, the introduction to the new material, digital techniques and software, 3D interventions, and views are turning the scenarios. Various subjects are taught separately to other subjects, whereby the hand skills are becoming very obsolete. The fact is that in practice, good buildings are always made with hands-on experiences, which is declining day by day due to various technological interventions. This article inquires about the gap between architectural education and practice and discusses various strategies and solutions to bridge this gap to create harmony between them.

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Looking at the current scenario of architectural education, we realize that academic education lacks practical aspects due to the imagination of a larger goal or picture for the students and institute. In many systems of teaching the studies and courses are conducted just to equip students to create modern-day technological marvels rather than educating them with fundamentals of creating a homogeneous system that reflects and stands for the social needs and societal expectations. Similarly, to sharpen many of the skills, it requires time to time field interactions with practitioners and experts.

In many of the current scenarios, these considerations are only limited to evaluate the outcome of the students rather than considering it as a mandatory requirement to improve their skillset and outcomes at a beginner level of any academic cycle (six or four months). The missing link in the overall scenario is the delay in introducing students to the professional field. In many of the scenarios, the later introduction or the less introductory sessions to the fields generate confidence lapses in students’ learning and grooming process, which also reflects when they go out to face the field hands-on. As the minimum interactions builts, the poor attitude of approach and less professional confidence compared to the optimistic side of it.

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On the other hand, professional practice is established to serve the community and as facilitators to understand and respond to the needs of various classes and masses. In other words, it’s a combination of ones implemented learnings from the educational roots and real-time experiences on the professional front. It is also an extension of the academic learnings with real-time implementations.

The professional practices are the zone where theoretical knowledge is being challenged by the practical issues related to construction or moral ethics. It also requires a stronger code of conduct to establish a transparent nature of it to the outside world. It is one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to establishing or running an ideal practice. All of these can be implemented accurately if one is having stronger roots towards the profession right from his/her academic environment. It plays a vital role to establish successful practitioners and sensitive professional practice. For instance, Hunarshala in Bhuj, Gujarat is one of the examples that showcase the amalgamation of these two ends, whereby one hand gives knowledge to the fundamental aspects of construction education. On the other hand, the professional aspect of it helps to implement all those research and study into reality through professional practice. It represents the harmonious and collaborative model of the modern era.

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, 

But in practice there is …”

– Jan L.A.Van de Snepsche

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The above words are the bone of contention of the whole conversation where both aspects theory or practice can’t stand alone. It requires support from each end, and amalgamation of both can give us fruitful perspectives towards the profession. If we want to bridge this gap between the two pillars of our profession, it requires contribution from both ends, but largely in academies because the base needs a solid backing from all the directions.

So, following that, institutions can have the major agendas, one that prepares the student to face and contribute to the field and others that develops the seeds of expanding the horizon of the profession through their valuable contributions. In both cases, students can get the all-round development from their foundation years from the institutions itself, and that can lead them to become valuable contributors towards the community. Similarly, we also need to examine the education structure of it where the courses can be taught through the inclusion of the other courses like social-science to prepare them future-ready.

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In conclusion, one can say that we need to establish a bridge between these two ends to enrich our profession. To make sensitive practitioners who can contribute to community needs, and multiplication of such sensitive practices can lead us to the macro-level reforms at the national and global levels. These all can sum up as a strong pillar on which the developments of the developing nation can look forward!

Jhanavi Parikh
Author

Jhanavi is an architecture graduate from Nirma University in 2019 with the best awarded Research Thesis on Architectural Response to Waterfronts. Jhanavi is an Associate Architect at JCE, Ahmedabad and also recipient of research grant for the research of “Women in Architecture” from EDRC. She is a keen observer, who loves to translate the minute details into words.

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