Straight Talk with The President Council of Architecture, India

On October 1, 2012, Prof. Uday Gadkari, became President of Council of Architecture, India by way of elections. The profession and architecture education in India in last few years has witnessed rapid changes.  This can be attributed to changing needs of the society and rapid development in technologies.

Prof. Uday Gadkari. President, Council of Architecture, India.
Prof. Uday Gadkari.
President, Council of Architecture, India

In recent past Council of Architecture has faced many allegations and it has been sailing through a turbulent phase. We would highly suggest that you also read our past posts on Council of Architecture to understand some of the issues. Links below:

Amendment to Architect’s Act – Why this Kolaveri Di?

Council of Architecture, Architects Act, Blah..


ArchitectureLive! (AL!) had a straight talk with the President (UG) on various issues and his agendas to improve the state of the profession in India. The interview follows:

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AL! – Congratulations on being elected as the President of the Council of Architecture. The fraternity of Architects, including many young architects who are part of this portal, have many expectations from you and the Council of Architecture, India (CoA). Thus, we hope these set of questions will facilitate better understanding of  the COA’s role in shaping the professional and academic future of Architects in India.

You become an elected leader of the supreme body of Architects in India. The election process and the politics and campaigning behind this process must have left a bad aftertaste, with much negativity being spread around by some members? You must be eager to leave this behind and move ahead with positive resolve. Your comments…

UG – Members representing more than 200 architecture colleges along with IIA and majority of State Govt./ other representatives chose me for the post of the ‘President of Council of Architecture’. I thank them for the confidence they have reposed in me.

In my career spanning 30 years so far in Architectural Education, Profession and in the CoA itself I have neither involved myself in any politics nor let negativity affect my agenda, because progress is everyone’s business.

I want my term as the president to be remembered for unifying our members, renewing the architectural spirit and sense of purpose. I seek the well wishes, support and cooperation of all architects and co-professionals for the agenda of progress and development.

AL! – What changes do you expect the CoA to undergo over the duration of your term, to to stay relevant given today’s needs and expectations?

UG – As architecture is a knowledge based service; we cannot offer any quick fix solution for the same. There needs to be a lot of cyclical changes in our ecosystem right from the institutional, professional, administrative and government level.

We are working on making our students industry-ready by initiating various Training Programmes for teachers and students, Entrepreneurship Development Programmes and encouraging Industry-Institute Partnerships. For architectural practice to survive the threat of globalization, it is necessary that we have a quality monitoring system in place. Skill and scale up-gradation is the key to survival now. Interdisciplinary and corporate firms have to be promoted to capitalize on and participate in the India’s growth story.

AL! –  The COA is often seen as cold, distant headmaster, primarily because of its main role as a regulatory body. Young and emerging Architects seem alienated with the role and purpose of the CoA. How do you think  the CoA can improve upon that and become more ‘friendly’?

UG – The role of the CoA is defined and hence limited by Architect’s Act, 1972. However since then many transformations have taken place and realities have changed. Amending the Act is a time consuming affair and has always met bureaucratic bottlenecks. Maximizing the collective wisdom of the fraternity will be a priority in my term. Frequent communiqué and updates will be issued from the CoA to all the members, institutions and professionals. Potential of web and social media shall be harnessed for involving the youth. Various committees and expert groups will be constituted to fast-track growth in pending and new areas of opportunity and challenge.

AL! – You have been a prominent academician  for many years. What role do you see our schools of architecture have in shaping the future of our profession? What are your expectations from these schools?

UG – The falling standards of mass education is a contagion that has engulfed Architectural Education as well. The poor quality of work and professionalism needs no mention. Out of the many responsibilities and duties, one of the essential elements in imparting Architectural education is the process of simplification. The teacher has to simplify matters enough for a student to understand. In a profession which depends upon visual effects it becomes all the more important to simplify verbal and written matter into graphic displays easy enough for the students.

Our local response to western trends and ideas, concepts and theories can be made through indigenization. Indigenous response to indigenous peoples. It would not be an Architecture of the masses, nor will there be a national trend. The emphasis should be in emphasizing the locality, to identify the locality and our diversity lends itself to this kind of a definition. Hence, as teachers of Architecture, we have to be familiar with the trends, and devise methodologies based upon our diversity. We as teachers should be clear in our minds as to what and all the students should know in order to develop. Out of this will emerge a theory of our own most suited to us.

An architectural college is arguably intended to teach students self-learning, time-management, and critical thinking. Similar to any program of study, it is difficult to keep up with a rapidly evolving profession and there is always room for improvement.

Industry Institute Partnership forms an important activity for any academic institute as its stakeholders interact with the real world. Firstly, the students are benefited due to exposure to current industry practices, updation is possible as and when changes occur in technology, teaching faculty get sensitized to the latest practices leading them to blend practice with usual theoretical teaching methods.


AL! – A few months back, there was tremendous activity towards implementation of many changes in the Architects Act of 1972, making it more holistic, contextual to reality and current with today’s requirements. What happened to that movement, and when can we hope to have these changes implemented?

UG – We have been trying to seek the intervention of the judiciary to get our rightful status. Since the matter pertains to the judiciary and Union Ministry of HRD, I am unable to give any time-frame for resolution of this issue. However our sincere attempts are on.

AL! – Briefly, what are the biggest challenges that CoA is expected to face in the coming years, and how are you preparing to gear up for that?

UG – Continuing the spirit and autonomy of the Architects’ Art 1972 remains one of the major challenges in front of us today.

The next big challenge for the CoA is being relevant in the Indian and global context. We have to move forward and adopt Credit Based Continuing Education Programmes and License Registration Examination in-spite of all oppositions. We cannot afford to remain out of sync with the realities of the globalized market.

AL! – Lastly, we request a message from the President, Council of Architecture for the Architects’ fraternity in India.

UG – We need to prepare ourselves for the challenges and opportunities alike. All of us have to think beyond our short-term gains and support the agenda of research, reforms and revival which will lead to a brighter future for our fraternity.

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Credits: Pulkit Soni (proof reading)
ArchitectureLive! is an unique Portal for Indian Architectural Projects and Architecture in India. It allows Architects and Interior Designers in India to upload, share and manage their projects easily.

7 thoughts on “Straight Talk with The President Council of Architecture, India

  1. Most of the architecture schools are not following the guidelines of Council of Architecture regarding qualifications of teaching faculty and their pay-scales etc.The new president is requested to conduct surprise inspections in the architecture schools to solve this problem.

  2. Our local response to western trends and ideas, concepts and theories can be made through indigenization. Indigenous response to indigenous peoples. It would not be an Architecture of the masses, nor will there be a national trend. The emphasis should be in emphasizing the locality, to identify the locality and our diversity lends itself to this kind of a definition …. all such statements sound PHILOSOPHICALLY good..

    BUT…To me STRESS on education required but what about another role of regulating + protecting profession and behavior of professionals to improve its image in society and industry too. How to use the teeth against those whose actions tarnish the image of the profession.. discourage moral and ethical practice.. encourage young and greedy professionals behave fearless to flout with architects act.. I also include actions against quacks…

    Can CoA explain what actions it has taken against those who have established quack and some of the architects behavior as tarnishing the image of profession by Hon. Gujarat High court [SLP1111/ 2000] AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBSTANTIATED by Hon. SUPREME COURT.

    I can site number of such incidence when CoA hesitated act effectively for meaningful and result oriented conclusive actions.

    Has ever dared or now will dare to act against those bureaucrats who are instrumental in negating Architects Act whenever such incidences had been and will be bring to the knowledge of CoA?

    Are these issues related to profession and its image in society are of some importance to C.oA.?
    As I have never found these issues adressed as one of the agenda in any CoA Presidents manifesto.

    Regretfully,

    Girish Mistry.

  3. OFF the FOUR professions ARCHITECTURE is the only hands off ONE. yet it involves the maximum responsibility and has to be CREATIVE in a continuum.
    Here the C O A with is new office bearers headed by a vigorous President can be the torch bearer and open new dimensions of expressive exploration.
    i am with you ALL in this journey

  4. hELLO SIR,AM AN ARCHITECTURE STUDENT OF 4TH YEAR IN PMCA.I JUST WANT TO KNOW CAN WE GO FOR TRAINING TO ABROAD FIRMS IN THE UPCOMING SEMESTER ???

  5. As a practicing architect, urban designer, conservation expert I congratulate the new president for the encouraging attitudinal stance above and use this forum as for reaching the President to voice my concerns in the interest of improving our lot:
    1. The position of the architect has been called in for many competitions grossly violating the norms laid down by the Council. When government officers are shown the document they show us the CAG (comptroller auditor general) norms where it is mandatory upon decision makers to search for the lowest quote regardless of the quality. Can the COA norms and the CAG norms be reconciled so that the largest patron of Architecture or at least building activity which is the government sees no conflict between the two and there is a nationally accepted norm on this?
    2. As a practicing Urban Designer we have found it very difficult to get across the identity of the profession or stress upon development authorities the inadequacy of the discipline of architecture by itself or that of the Town Planning to deliver better experience of our towns and cities. Can there be an urgent move to co-opt institutions like the IUDI (Institute of Urban Designers India), look at the needs and potential of recognizing this discipline as a necessary link between architecture and town planning that will lead to better towns and cities?
    3. As a practicing Conservation Architect I have on several occasions tried to stress upon the registrar and the former president the need for revising the schedule of services to be rendered by a conservation architect that are radically different and many time opposed to those being provided by the architect. The aspect of recording the building in all its detail and analysing its history or present condition does not find any reference in the schedule though the profession has being doing it for over a generation.

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