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In-Depth Jobs

Issue no 30, 22-28 October 2022

Career Opportunities in

Architecture and Planning


Vijay Prakash Srivastava


The term 'Architecture' originated in ancient Greece and it translated into 'master craftsmanship.' To understand the role and importance of architecture and planning, the famous Taj Mahal can be considered an apt example. Think of the efforts made in designing and building this ancient marvel and you will realise how architecture has contributed to the world. We are surrounded by various structures including breath-taking high rise buildings as well as remnants of ancient civilizations. In both rural and urban setup, we have residences constructed in different shapes and sizes as well as special structures including religious places like temples, mosques and churches, utilities like hotels, hospitals, office complexes, educational institutions, etc. It is the architects who design and create these spaces with the help of engineers and workers. Architects understand the need of clients and then create sketches and models for the project, prepare a cost and time estimate. They work in coordination with builders to ensure that the construction goes on according to the plan. They allocate resources and supervise the construction work by regularly visiting the site. An architect's job is to ensure that the work is carried out to specific standards and the structure being built is sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing. Architecture is a combination of art, engineering, science and also culture. With rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and economic progress, there is an increasing demand for personal and public spaces that are efficient and aesthetically pleasing. These include both affordable and luxury segments. The real estate boom seen before the pandemic has resumed and bodes well for the domain of architecture in the country. Also with arrival of Computer Aided Designing (CAD), new software programmes and new technologies in building, the job of architects and planners has become more interesting and stimulating. Planners are generally involved in city and urban planning. The 74th Constitution Amendment Act, 1992, has empowered urban local bodies to undertake developmental works, which has led to the increasing need for qualified planners at all levels. In our country, urbanization has been on a steady rise since Independence, and has escalated significantly in recent years which has to be managed by planning professionals.


Academic Programmes in Architecture and Planning

Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch): Topics covered in this course include- construction and materials, theory of design and structures, architectural representation and detailing, theory and design of structures, environmental studies, architectural theory, concept of sustainable building, water efficiency, material efficiency, solid waste management, architectural graphics and drawing, computer aided drawings and graphics, site survey and analysis, quantity surveying and specification, project management, urban studies, etc. The study of architecture requires much practical exposure. Therefore, during a B.Arch course, generally from the second semester of 4th year, formal practical training starts. A student has to take practical training under a practicing architect who must be registered with the Council of Architecture. During this training, students become familiar with client management, market requirements and how they should deal with all kinds of possibilities and constraints involved in the architectural practice. During the 5th i.e. last year of the course, advancements in design, building technology, structures are taken for practical study. Students are permitted to choose some elective subjects of their choice so that they can build their career based on their choice. The last semester is usually devoted to  thesis work. Based on all the knowledge gained from theoretical and practical study, students work on specific issues to come out with their thesis. Things like professional practice/ conduct, valuation arbitration have also to be learnt by budding architects before their course comes to an end.


Bachelor of Planning (B. Plan): This course has a blend of social sciences, economics and knowledge of transportation, environment, legislation and policies, infrastructure etc. Syllabus of B.Plan includes data analysis, graphic representation, report writing, technical drawing, fundamentals of urban and regional planning, surveying, statistical and quantitative methods in planning, building structures, materials and principles of construction, neighbourhood/estate/utilities/services/ site/landscape/transportation planning, CAD (computer aided design) application, sustainable urban management/development, planning management of informal sector, urban conservation, GIS and geo-informatics in planning, urban governance, planning for global cities and special areas, public private partnership in environmental and other projects. Project work and internship are integral components of the course


Eligibility and Aptitude There is a straight line path for becoming an architect or a planner. Formal study of architecture/planning can be pursued after completion of SSC or 10+2 examination. In most of the cases candidates, who had completed 10+2 with Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry are considered eligible. One can also pursue Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) or Master of Planning (M. Plan) which take a minimum of two years to complete.


Council of Architecture (COA) The Council of Architecture (COA) is an autonomous statutory body constituted by the Government of India to enforce the Architect's Act 1972. The COA regulates the architectural profession, handles the registration of architects, regulates architectural education throughout India and maintains a register of architects. The COA, with the consent of the central government, makes regulations from time to time. However, such regulations should be consistent with the Architect's Act.


Entrance Tests

(JEE) Main: Admission to undergraduate architecture programs for the candidates at IITs, NITs and other centrally funded Technical Institutions shall include the performance in class 12/other qualifying examination and in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main. It means that those who want to pursue B.Arch/B.Plan at IITs or NITs must qualify JEE (Main).


Syllabus: The syllabus for the test related to architecture comprises the following:

·         Imagining three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings

·         Different sides of three dimensional objects

·         Awareness of places, buildings, materials, objects, textures and build-environment

·         Analytical reasoning

·         Mental ability - numerical, visual and verbal

·         Sketching of scenes and activities from urbanscape including monuments, public spaces, festivals, street scenes, markets, recreational spaces etc.; landscapes (river fronts, forests, plants, trees etc.), scenes from rural life

·         Perceiving three dimensional objects, scale and proportion of objects

·         Colour textures, harmony, forms and elements of construction

·         Designing and drawing of geometric and abstract shapes and patterns with pencil

·         Transformation of 2D and 3D union forms, rotation, elevation and 3D view of objects.


The syllabus for the test related to planning comprises the following:

·         Comprehension, critical thinking and analytical skills

·         Reading skills for graphs, charts and maps

·         Simple statistics

·         General awareness about development issues

·         Government programmes and schemes etc.

·         Social science subjects (class X CBSE)


Question Pattern: The paper for admission to B. Arch has two questions of 50 marks each in drawing section; 50 questions of 4 marks each in general aptitude section; 25 questions of 4 marks each in mathematics section. The paper for B. Plan has a different structure with 25 planning based questions of 4 marks each; aptitude based 25 questions of 4 marks each; 25 questions of 4 marks each in mathematics section. For Masters Programmes in premier institutes, candidates need to have a valid GATE score and participate in centralised counselling (CCMT) which is a common platform for admission to M. Arch and many other courses.


NATA: For studying architecture at undergraduate level at other institutes, candidates need to qualify in National Aptitude Test in Architecture commonly known as NATA. According to NATA website, this exam is intended to assess the drawing and observation skills, sense of proportion, aesthetic sensitivity and knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics at 10+2 level.


Syllabus: NATA is a computer based test and covers - abstract reasoning to assess general knowledge and utilize knowledge in new situations; logical reasoning to assess ability to recognise patterns, sequences and relationships between shapes and imagery; inductive reasoning for ability to see patterns through given data, verbal reasoning for ability to assess verbal logic, numerical reasoning comprising of mathematical ability through simple problems and diagrammatic reasoning which tests the ability of logical reasoning using diagrams and scenarios


Question pattern: There are 125 questions in all carrying a total of 200 marks in the test. Some questions will carry 1 mark, some 2 and some will be of 3 marks. Test duration is 3 hours. In the year 2022 NATA was conducted three times within a duration of about two months. Candidates may take one, two or all three of the tests and the best score of the tests will be taken into account to decide their merit. In this way candidates have opportunity to improve their score.


Where to Study

India has more than 400 institutes which offer recognised degree in architecture. There are institutes established specifically for teaching of architecture and planning.

·         The specialised institutes are - School of Planning and Architecture which has presence in Bhopal, Delhi and Vijaywada offering Bachelor of Architecture/ Planning, Integrated Master of Planning, M. Arch. (Architectural Conservation), M. Arch. (Urban Design), Landscape Architecture, Master of Planning with specialisation in Housing/ Urban Planning/Regional Planning/ Transport Planning Environmental Planning, Master of Building Engineering and Management.

·         CEPT University, Ahmedabad offers Bachelors in Architecture/Urban Design/ Construction Technology; Masters in Architectural Design/Urban Management/ Urban Planning/Urban Design/ Structural Engineering Design/Housing Design/ Landscape Architecture/ Building Products and Systems/Architectural History and Research/ Architectural Tectonics/Construction Engineering & Management/ Urban Infrastructure.

·         Some other institutes are-Sir J J College of Architecture, Mumbai, College of Engineering, Trivendrum; Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad, School of Planning and Architecture, Mysore

·         IIT- Varanasi/Kharagpur/ Roorkee

·         NIT-Trichy/Hamirpur/ Kozhikode/ Patna/ Nagpur/ Jaipur/ Rourkela

·         Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak

·         Jharkhand University of Technology, Ranchi

·         Andhra University, Visakhapatnam

·         Assam Science & Technology University, Guwahati

·         Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Chhattisgarh

·         Swami Vivekanand Technical University, Bhilai

·         Panjab University, Chandigarh

·         Guru Gobind Singh Indraprasth University, New Delhi

·         Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

·         M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara

·         Gujarat Technological University Ahmedabad

·         Himachal Pradesh Technical University, Hamirpur

·         Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak

·         Maharshi Markandeshwar University, Ambala

·         University of Jammu

·         University of Kashmir, Srinagar

·         Bangalore University

·         Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum

·         University of Kerala, Thiruvananthpuram

·         University of Calicut

·         Cochin University of Science Technology

·         University of Mumbai

·         Savitribai Phule University, Pune

·         Shivaji University Kolhapur

·         North Eastern Hill University, Shillong

·         Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal

·         Rajiv Gandhi Praudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal

·         Mizoram University Tanhril

·         Odisha University of Technology and Research, Bhubaneshwar

·         Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Sambalpur

·         Rajasthan Technical University, Kota

·         Anna University, Chennai

·         Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand University, Dehradun

·         Dr A P J Kalam Technical University, Lucknow

·         Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, West Bengal (The above list is indicative) Work Opportunities As an architect, one may work independently offering consultancy/advisory services for a fee. There are firms providing such services in which many architects come together and are allotted individual projects. Big construction companies have a team of architects and planners to facilitate their work. If you are keen to work with public sector and government organizations, you may look for opportunities in bodies like National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), HUDCO, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) etc. Banks, insurance companies, manufacturing and other organizations also employ architects but here the requirement is very few in numbers. Municipal corporations, city development authorities (like Delhi Development Authority) need architects and planners. All big and medium real estate developers invariably require architects/planners in their regular manpower. Infrastructure developers in public and private sector both have similar needs; the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Larsen & Toubro Limited, Gammon India Limited as some of the entities. Many organizations maintain a panel of architects and planners to use their services as per requirement and qualified people may seek empanelment with them.


(The author is a Mumbaibased career counsellor. He can be reached at v2j25@yahoo.in)


Views expressed are personal.