Where Have The Dreaming Wild Men Gone?

Architects must dream

While  working  in  England  in  late  1960s, and  studying simultaneously  for  final  exam. of  RTPI, U K, in  the  RTPI journal I  read  an article  titled  as  above. So  powerful  is  the  title  and  its’  message,  that  even  after over  45  years,    it  is  etched  explicitly  in  my  mind.   The article narrated the story of Dr. Watson & his colleague, discoverers of the DNA structure. Despite substantial research, they were stuck in defining the DNA structure. They  were  so possessed  with  the  problem, that  they  would  be  thinking  of nothing  else. One night Dr. Watson dreamt of two snakes intertwined, like a double helix. Since  in everything,  they saw only DNA, like  Archimedes  shouting  EUREKA, Dr. Watson  moved  to the laboratory and  tested  his  dream.  He had his D N A structure, with which we are all familiar.

 WE NEED DREAMERS.   

Architects must dream.   One who has to break new ground must dream. Even engineers or Inventors are no exception. Architects who do not dream are NO ARCHITECTS. The profession should thrive on dreams alone. We  are  familiar  with the  storey  of  the Prize winning design for  the  Sydney  Opera  House discovered  from  rejected  entries.

Closer home is the story of the competition for the ‘Indira Gandhi Center for Arts’, Rajpath, New Delhi. While  the  U S Architect  Ralph Lerner battled  with renaissance architectural  styles, Gautam Bhatia won  the second  prize with  incomplete  presentations -only  sketches. So powerful was his dream that it merited an Award.

Who  would  have imagined  that  a  Temple  can  be  constructed from  top  to  bottom, except  for  the  Dreamers  of  Kailasa  temple  at Ellora, in  Maharashtra.

AT  THE  SAME  TIME WE  MUST  HAVE  PEOPLE  WHO  CAN  UNDERSTAND  THE  DREAM  AND  PLACE  A  RIGHT  VALUE  ON  IT.

We need to dream very wildly to improve the quality of Architectural education. It is plagued with several deficiencies for which there is no routine solution. I had some dreams. Perhaps  these  may  be  termed  foolish – till  we  get  the  right  people to  value  it. To  get  over  the  quality  teachers  scarcity, as an  incentive for such teachers, CO-OPERATIVE  MANAGEMENT  of  Architectural  schools  is  one  dream. The principle  simply  is that  the  users  and  beneficiaries  should  be  stakeholders and participate in  the  process of taking  decisions that  would  shape their  own  future. This would give them a root cause to be sustainable and stable. What we need to be careful about is the quality of stakeholders. To be a stakeholder is in itself a strong enough incentive for achieving quality. Teaching faculty is the backbone of any teaching Institution. Their participation in Institutional management as Partners will go a long way.

There  are  many  issues  to  be  settled  for  them  to  become  stakeholders. These include legal & financial issues.  There can be answers to these as  well, but  to  look  at  those  we  have  to  wait  till  a  right  man  arrives  on  the  scene  to put  up  a  right  value  on  this  wild  idea.

There is another wild dream. Turn Architectural education partly or fully “Apprenticeship” oriented. The main catch here is the quality of persons /firms to whom the student gets apprenticed. Can this approach make any dent on the Professionalism in architectural practice?

There are many unknowns to be answered including legal recognition. To  answer  these one  would  have  to  write  a  Ph.D  thesis  or  get  into a dissertation exercise. One  advantage  could  be  that  one  can  address educational  & professional  matters  simultaneously. Partial system change could mean Education in Architecture be made 12+3 years. The institute could  provide a B.Sc(Arch) and add  to  that two  years apprenticeship to  get  them to practice as  “Architects” including  registering  with regulatory  authority  in  architectural  profession. Alternatively all four or five years can be apprenticeship.

The requisite system  changes  for  this  will  have  to  be  far  reaching but  it is achievable. We may try to learn something from Chartered Accountants.

These are but wild dreams or ideas at the moment. I hope these are not termed as thoughts bordering on Insanity. 


Written by Late Prof. M.N.Joglekar, this article originally appeared in Aayojan School of Architecture’s Newsletter – Manthan

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