Imbibing Social Commitment into Architectural Education

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For decades now, studying and practicing architecture has achieved great reputation and is counted among the most influential professions all over the world. Although there are a lot many architectural colleges in the country, one institute stands tall and different from them all.

A unit of ABR Foundation, Kochi, Asian School of Architecture and Design Innovations (ASADI) was initiated by the leading architect, Prof. B.R. Ajit (Director and Chairman, ASADI). In his own words, “This school has been started with the sole objective of creating a new breed of young architects who are fully committed to the social need of the day, who will fully honour the sustainability commitment and who will have the ability to change the way the world thinks and behaves, by creating a better and more responsible environment, especially to house the unfortunate billions, who presently only have the sky as a roof above them”.  ASADI is proud that every each of its students contributes significantly to the institute’s noble cause of housing the unfortunate. A prime example of the same is their low cost housing project, ‘Home and Hope for the Billion’, intended to provide shelter for the billions of homeless people in the world. The project is proposed as a 10-year long program, where the students do their bit by taking up R&D work. Though a relatively young institute, ASADI with its own unique philosophy and techniques has already caught the attention of academic leaders in the country and the accolades continue to flow in. ASADI’s mission is to provide quality education to the meritorious students, as per government norms and fee structure.

Experience Education

ASADI, from its inception, has considered education in architecture not as a qualification for employment or self employment, but more as an institution to create worthwhile and responsible citizens for the country. ASADI believes and gives great stress to the concept that each aspiring architect needs to be molded in the manner he himself looks forward to be. The institution goes by the motto that architectural education cannot be a subject that can just be taught in an enclosed classroom. Architecture rather, needs to be experienced. Toward this objective, ASADI had implemented various programs and projects for the students from the first year. ASDAI offers a five year B.Arch program approved by the Council of Architecture (COA), the statutory organization in the country for the education and practice of architecture. The students at ASADI are involved in site visits, case studies, documentary work, etc. They also attend workshops, go on study tours, participate in NASA programs and also attend talks by prominent personalities from all over the world in various fields of work. Moreover, the construction of every unit of the college is done in such a manner that as many components used for servicing, like pipelines; electric cable works; air condition system, such as ducts, etc., are fixed in an exposed manner so as to enable the students to understand the construction techniques that are designed and implemented in the project. The college building is thus itself a “Living Laboratory”.

Leveraging on a team of meritorious faculty, ASADI’s teachers come from varied fields of architectural expertise ranging from Urban Design, Urban Planning, and Sustainable Environmental Design, etc, and has extensive professional experience ranging from 10 years to more than 30 years. Such experience is then fortified by their continuing work at ACD (ASADI Consultancy Division) that is presently handling hundreds of crores of architectural consultancy works. This further ensures that all faculty members are current in their knowledge and the projects they do stand as a learning centre for the students. Selected students from fifth semester onward will also have the opportunity to work after school hours at AAC adding on to their hands-on experience.

Future Blueprint
Moving forward, ASADI sees itself adorning a prominent position among all the Architecture Design Institutions around the world as not only just a CoE, but also as a National Centre for continuous dialogue and intellectual interactions between students, faculty, and opinion leaders around the world, and most importantly, an institution that will contribute toward the well-being of the society.  ASADI believes that it will have done a satisfactory job when every student would contribute immensely toward the development of the country on account of the training and focused education they have received, to serve the country without any selfish motives.

Some of the projects that ASADI has implemented are:

 The Gurukula System: This provides each student with a single ‘Mentor/Guru” all through his/her education at ASADI and receives constant guidance all through the five years of education. Each student is also attached to a practicing architect who is their ‘Professional Mentor”

Hands on Training: In order to acquire in-depth knowledge, the students are involved hands–on in the construction of various buildings in the campus and also in the various construction projects of their “Professional Mentor” (Gurus) at ACD (ASADI Consultancy Division).

Sustainable living: Apart from imparting training in various aspects of sustainability in architectural design and construction, stress is also given to encourage every student to lead a more sustainable way of life.

Campus: ASADI was recently awarded Platinum Rating for its new studio block by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) with the highest ever point of 87. This is the first architecture school in the country to have been rated as Platinum by IGBC.

The campus with a rhythm: A Kerala architecture style “Koothambalam” built in the college premises provides students with the best ambiance to hone their artistic talents.

 

 Awards and Accolades

 Global Leaders Foundation

Institutional Awards Category- South Asian Excellence Award for “MOST INNOVATIVE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN AWARD-2017” for excellent performance, splendid achievement & outstanding contribution towards the designs innovations & architectural development for the upliftment of higher education in India. The award was handed over to the Chairman & Principal of ASADI, Ar. Prof B.R Ajit, at the award ceremony held at Timpu, Bhutan by Mr. Kinzang Dorji, Former Prime Minister of Bhutan on 26th June 2017.

Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)

Awarded Platinum Rating to ASADI Green Studio Complex, India’s first architectural studio achieving Platinum rating with highest points of 86 under IGBC Green Interiors rating system. The award was presented to  ASADI Chairman & Principal Ar. Prof B.R Ajit by IGBC National Head,  Mr. Prem. C. Jain on 6th October 2016 at the Green Building Congress held in Mumbai.

 

Message from the Chairman

How can we create this new breed of architects who will be social scientists, with deep concern for our degrading environment?  ASADI proposes to answer this question by providing a totally different approach to architecture education by preparing graduates in architecture who are ready and are responsible architects committed to doing their best for the society. Toward this, we have incorporated very many new methodologies in architectural education like integration of verticals and horizontals form year one, adapting to the Gurukula system of education, learning from the masters, uncovering and enhancing the inborn creativity in the students by greater freedom of thought , hands on training and the like.