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Architecture As a Career

What is Architecture?

Architecture, often known as Architectural Engineering, is basically the science of building. It is that area of study which deals not only with the designing and planning of buildings and structures but also the spaces between them. Architecture is a highly competitive and multi-disciplinary profession which involves a variety of tasks at work. This is a discipline which covers various fields including spatial design, aesthetics, safety management, materials management, building laws, etc.

Thus, Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.

Who is an Architect?

Architects are licensed professionals trained in the art and science of building. They are involved in all the phases of the building construction i.e. the functional, safety, economical etc and have to satisfy the needs of the occupants. They are the people responsible for the planning, designing and supervision of construction works for houses, office buildings, skyscrapers, landscapes, and even entire cities. An Architect is a combination of artist, professional and businessperson. They ideate, sketch, make blueprints of their designs and then see them come to life as cottages, skyscrapers and even monuments. Apart from designing and construction, architects are trained in activities ranging from conceptual problem solving to project management.

How do I become an Architect?

A Bachelor's degree in Architecture (B.Arch) or Diploma in Architecture is needed to become a qualified architect. For practical purposes there is no difference between the two qualifications. >You should have studied Mathematics at the plus two level.

Eligibility:

The basic eligibility criteria for B.Arch is 10+2 (senior secondary Class XII) or equivalent referred to as the qualifying examination from a recognized Board/University with a minimum of 50% marks in Science subjects (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics). Besides this, the candidate must qualify in an entrance examination. The All-India Entrance Examination for Architecture is known as NATA (National Aptitude Test in Architecture).

Entrance Tests:

Admission to first year of Five years full time undergraduate course in Architecture (Bachelor of Architecture) in various colleges of India is through a National Level Entrance Examination (JEE Main B.Arch & NATA)

The National Aptitude test in Architecture (NATA), the online test with drawing exam is conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Studies and Architecture in association with the Council of Architecture (COA). NATA scores are used by admissions authorities of different unaided & Government aided schools / Colleges of Architecture, to provide common measures for comparing the qualifications of applicants. NATA measures aesthetic sensitivity, critical thinking, perception, observation and architectural awareness.

Some private institutes conduct entrance exams of their own. Different states also hold separate entrance exams for admission to architecture and engineering colleges in the state.

The B.Arch degree program is generally of 5 years duration and includes a period of practical experience. The apprenticeship (usually for one semester) has to be done under a practicing architect. The B. Arch degree prepares the theoretical foundations and gives some practical insight on which a student later develops proficiency and functional accuracy.

Degrees & Diplomas:

The following are the common degrees and diplomas generally offered:

  • B. Arch. (Architecture)
  • Diploma in Architecture (Dip. Arch)
  • B.E. Naval Architecture
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Diploma in Architectural Assistantship

Job Prospects & Career Options

The main task of an architect is to design and execute the plan for construction of any building or area. The job scenario include site selection, field research and supervision, safety management, quality control, environmental planning, estimating and costing, supervision of construction work, interior decoration etc. The architect is the overall in charge for construction- his responsibility begins right from the designing and planning of the structure until the same is erected. They must be able to communicate their ideas visually to their clients.

The work of an architect starts with the layout and sketches of proposed structures according to the equirements as well as the objectives of the client. Once the plans are finalized and accepted by the client, the architect has to obtain the approval and permission of the local authority for construction. Apart from this, it is the architects who co-ordinate the participation of all the specialists involved in the building process.

With the country's current growth in industrial and economic activities, there exists wide employment opportunities for architects, both in the public and private sectors. A qualified architect can work with government organizations like central and state public work departments, housing and urban development corporation, municipalities, city development authorities, state housing boards etc. They are also employed in industrial ventures, consultancy and private architectural firms, teaching institutions, real estate development firms etc. The most privileged scope in the field of architecture is private practice. With some years of experience in an organization, the architects can set up their own business. Architectural practices or individual architects may choose to specialize in one of a number of areas such as housing, hospital or educational facilities.

A qualified architect, to work as a consultant or to set up private practice, must register with the Council of Architecture before starting their profession. The Council of Architecture constituted by the government of India is charged with the responsibility to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India besides maintaining the register of architects. This body along with the Indian Institute of Architects- the national body of Architects in the country, lays down the guidelines for working hours, work environment, fees etc.

Remuneration

A fresh architectural graduate working as a trainee with established architects starts with a salary of Rs. 4000 - 7000 per month. Within a short span of time, the earnings can rise up to Rs.10, 000 - 20,000 per month depending upon the experience and the work involved. In the government sectors, the pay scale is not as lucrative as the private sector, since it is set according to the rules by the government. The Council of Architecture has laid down a standard scale of remuneration for services.

In this field, individuals practicing through their own firm could earn a lot, and this could be from thousands to lakhs. Consultants charge anywhere between 4 and 10 per cent of the total cost of construction in case of apartments and multi storied buildings. They charge 15-20 percent of the total cost of construction in the case of independent houses and bungalows.