Last edited 11 Oct 2019

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Introducing architectural technology to India

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Since 2016 the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) has been working on developing and promoting the discipline of architectural technology in India. During that time, delegations from CIAT have met with a number of Indian universities and architectural practices. In addition, strong links have been developed with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which is the statutory body and national council for technical education, and the Council of Architecture (COA), the regulatory body for architects which oversees the standards of education and practice in this field.

The Council of Architecture proposed that CIAT facilitates a national workshop or conference on architectural technology as an academic and professional discipline in India, which would bring together universities that offer accredited degree programmes and Indian universities that have an interest in developing an architectural technology programme or forming links with educational establishments.

Following a busy visit to India in July 2018, staff from CIAT’s International Department met with Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), a young, forward-thinking private educational establishment based in Tamil Nadu, South India. There they had a lively meeting with staff who were eager to develop architectural technology and work with CIAT to co-host a conference aimed at academics and students. On 14 December 2018, CIAT and VIT put on a successful event with an attendance of more than 500, which was hosted by VIT.

The meeting in July and subsequent event in December was instigated following discussions between the International Department and renowned Indian architect, Dr Jaffer AA Khan. Dr Khan, a long-time advocate for architectural technology in India, runs an architectural studio at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, works as senior faculty member at Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is an adjunct Professor at VIT, visiting regularly to mentor students on the architecture programme.

The conference was opened by Dr Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT and Professor Devi Prasad, Director of VIT School of Planning and Architecture (V-SPARC), who was instrumental in organising the event on behalf of VIT.

Before the conference began, a traditional prayer was held which included lighting of lamps and the state song of Tamil Nadu, ‘Thamiz Thai Vasthu’.

Alex Naraian PCIAT gave the keynote address on CIAT and the discipline, which led on to the first technical session, ‘Architectural technology as an important profession in the built environment sector’. Dr Jaffer AA Khan spoke on the development of the profession of architecture and the need for architectural technology as a distinct discipline, citing VIT as a possible trailblazer for the discipline in India.

Raguram Jayaram, a registered architect from Bentley Systems, Dubai presented on his work and experiences relating to the discipline. Mr Jayaram works as a Technologist advising on the design and implementation of information management solutions and best practices for collaboration workflows during project and asset lifecycles. He is a certified Bentley professional with skills in workspace configuration, standards development, content customisation, ProjectWise application integration and BIM/workflow implementation planning.

The second technical session focused on the need for architectural technology as a distinct discipline in India. The presenters included Deependra Prashad from Deependra Prashad, architects and planners, an architectural design and planning practice in Delhi; and Barath Gowda, a practitioner based in Bangalore who has 15 years’ experience across USA and India in the analysis, design and implementation of types of building structures. Barath is educated and trained both as an architect and an engineer.

Following the technical sessions, the three universities offering accredited architectural technology degree programmes were represented by their delegates who had travelled from the UK. The first academic session was based on architectural technology as an academic discipline, and presentations included overviews of the programmes, highlighting the need for architectural technology. Presentations were given by:

The final session was a lively panel discussion which included all academic speakers who took questions and comments on how architectural technology could be introduced to India. This session was chaired by Dr Jaffer AA Khan and several questions were asked to the panellists by the audience, while the students in attendance played an active role in the session, including one thought-provoking query on how the panel thought architectural technology would help with the colonisation of Mars!

CIAT would like to thank all those involved with the success of the conference, including the presenters, many of whom travelled from overseas, and VIT for coordinating and facilitating the event.

During the visit, CIAT’s International Department met with Professor Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). CIAT is in the process of organising a similar two-day national event soon aimed at academics and students and will be supported by both the AICTE and COA.

About this article

This article was written by Amina Khanum, Assistant International Director at CIAT. It previously appeared in CIAT’s AT Journal No.129 Spring 2019 and can be accessed HERE.

Other articles by CIAT on Designing Buildings Wiki HERE.

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