The urban population is expected to double in the next 40 years, forcing cities to undertake a holistic and sustainable transformation of their model. One of the great challenges that an architect today face is creating quality spaces in dense cities. However, most believe that rapid technological advancement will solve this issue, but this is far from true. If we think technology will solve everything, that cities should be left to the government or private investors, or that cities are only for those who can afford to live there, we won’t get very far. We need architects who can effectively create an environment where there is sustainable living and efficient use of resources, where there is a seamless amalgamation of culture, heritage, people, and buildings. India has been a forerunner in sustainable architecture with names like Revathi Kammath and Yatin Pandya. Adding names to this list is Institute of Architecture and Planning, Nirma University.
Initially kicking off as being entirely oriented toward Technology and Management courses, Nirma University wanted to create a new focus in the field of Architecture, Planning, and Design. “The rapid economic growth in India has created an urgent need to address the issues related to urbanization and development. Built Environment is the field that integrates and combines different aspects of development – both tangible and intangible, through physical manifestation and helps in creating a better society and living environment. The disciplines of Architecture and Planning go beyond functional aspects of design of buildings, and help in creating vibrant human environment thereby enhancing the quality of life of the people and overall aesthetics of a place. It is these fields that encompass various aspects like urban design, land utilization, energy conservation, sustainability, ecology, landscape, heritage conservation, affordable housing, infrastructure and public transport etc. at both micro and macro levels,” says Utpal Sharma, Director, Institute of Architecture and Planning, Nirma University.
Shaping Architects with an Ingenious Pedagogy
Albeit having a lot of peers in the industry, IAPNU sets itself apart by providing a coursework that has been prepared after a detailed discussion with renowned architects and the Council Of Architecture. Moreover, the institute aims to provide the best infrastructure facilities to its students while keeping in mind to take an interdisciplinary approach towards architecture, planning, and design. Similarly, the students are taken to various international/national and local sites with respect to their related study programs. Moreover, the teaching pedagogy is focused on field-based learning, development of sensorial perception, interaction with the practitioners, and learning by doing. Along the same line, the curriculum has been designed in such a manner that all creative, technical, skill-based, and humanities courses are integrated in a seamless manner. Further, the students are exposed to allied fields of architecture like Urban Design, Urban Planning, Landscape, Design, etc. “We promote experiential learning by facilitating documentation and exploration study programmes. Related Study Programme (RSP) is an important component of the programme curriculum for B. Arch and B. Plan. The RSP is conducted within the country as well as abroad,” says the Director.
IAPNU organizes various training programs to enhance the quality of the teaching faculty and to promote capacity building for faculty members (presently 90% of faculty members have post graduation and few perusing PhD and have extensive professional experience). Besides the learnt faculty at IAPNU, the institution also welcomes eminent personalities from the industry as a part of visiting faculty. Steven Hall(USA); B.V Doshi; Lee Sam Lee(South Korea); Dr. Rizvi Noordeen (Sri Lanka); Chatura de Silva (Sri Lanka); Helen Lochhead (Dean of the Built Environment at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia); Geovanni Leone (University of Venice, Italy); Sheela Patel (Founder Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC)); Chandra Bhushan (Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment); and Madhura Prematilleke(Principal, Team Architrave, Sri Lanka) are some of the eminent personalities that have Graced IAPNU with their presence.
Encouraging Out-of-box Thinking
At IAPNU, the students enjoy an informal atmosphere, so that they can freely exchange their ideas and thus dexterously tap into their creative reservoir. A sun emulator heliodon is set up as an interactive teaching–learning tool for testing and comparing alternative climate responsive architectural design. Moreover, the design exercises of various scales and varieties help students to think out of the box and flex their creative muscle. Along the same lines, events like student’s festival KALP—a technical and cultural festival is organized in the institute annually. The event is an amalgamation of applied learning through relevant co-curricular and extracurricular activities and observes formal public lectures by eminent architects across country along with wide range of workshops. Installations during festival such as KALP generate a lot of enthusiasm and lateral learning atmosphere among the students. As KALP is planned, organized, and managed by student council, the students develop management skills that help them to deal with the real-world scenarios.
Along with its aim of preparing its students to succeed in their education, progress in the workplace, and engage in the civic and cultural life, Institute of Architecture and Planning – Nirma University, has always responded to the educational needs of the country’s local population and economy. The institution vows to serve as an educational leader, contributing its resources to the intellectual, cultural, physical, and economic vitality of the region. Recognizing that learning is a lifelong journey, the institute intends to provide opportunities for intellectual enrichment and physical well being; and considering the pace at which IAPNU has bagged awards and accolades while setting milestones for its peers, it is only prudent to say that the Institute of Architecture and Planning, Nirma University, is a trailblazer in the arch-ed domain.
|Fructiferous Tie-ups of IAPNU
Ø MoU with INI Design studio for International fellowship program. The program is a unique collaborative initiative by a leading university and an established architecture and design practice, intending to provide a complete cross-section of research-based design and practice in India.
Ø MoU with ESCOLA DA CIDADE, Brazil for student/ staff exchange, joint research etc.
Ø MOU with GIDR, Vastushilpa, Bonjour India etc.
Prof. Utpal Sharma is the Director of Institute of Architecture & Planning. He is the recipient of the Bharat Vidya Ratna Award at “25th Business school affaire & Devang Mehta National Education Award” for best professor in Architecture & Planning on 4th October, 2017. He has also received the Indo Global Architecture Education Excellence Award from Indo Global Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture Building Community and Supporting Business in 2015.
“In India with the economy rapidly growing, there is an urgent need to address the issues related to urbanization and development. Architecture is the field that integrates and combines different aspects of development, both tangible and intangible, through physical manifestation and helps in creating better society and environment. Our architecture program is a challenging opportunity for all budding architects who wish to contribute to the society by making it more sustainable through adaptive designs and professional practices. It is an inclusive program that integrates one’s art, research, and experimentation desires amidst practical aspects of human life and the nature.”