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Architects design and build the physical infrastructure of our society and civilization. But is that all they do? Is that an Architect’s identity? Is that the limit of an Architect’s professional purview and his Creative capacity? Of course not! An Architect is a provocateur- a nudge in a new direction to our established views. An Architect is a clown- a serious professional who sees problems as opportunities in playful resolution. An Architect is one who cannot afford to be wrong- and yet he knows fully well that he can never be right either. An Architect isn’t an advocate of domination, but a seeker of compromise- between man and the world, between science and the arts, between academic idealism and professional realism. Philosophical arguments aside, if we were to be more grounded, what would we envision an Architect would be like in this Century? What competencies would a contemporary student of Architecture need to survive the challenges of our epoch? At ISArch, we believe in the following approach to pedagogy in Architecture:

  • Bringing into conscious cognizance the student’s capacity to sense and feel space, and be conscious of their own psychological and bodily responses in an environment is the first step towards understanding Architecture. As the late Michael Sorkin put it in his list of 250 things an Architect must know, “The feel of cool marble under the bare feet” was the first on his list.
  • Extended focus upon a student’s ability of problem formulation than upon seeking solutions alone is necessary as we often find ourselves arriving at problematic solutions as a result of asking incorrect questions. Design and Planning are central to this conundrum and the products of one’s design deliberations must begin at a careful formulation of the design problem.
  • Improved competencies in programmatic thinking- which is a manner of approaching a task in a structured methodological manner; and Analogous Thinking- it looks like this; it feels like this. Architectural education at ISArch encourages students to seek simultaneity in thought between these two manners of thinking, for method and madness (a crude word for a creative approach) must go hand in hand in Architectural creation.
  • A student must be grounded in history- not merely as a memorized collection of information of the things past, but as a resourceful recollection of ideas, concepts and motivations.
  • A student must be taught to settle the basic debates over building less or building more; of building one way or another through conscious, quantifiable impact assessment of the environmental, economic and tectonic aspects of one’s design and unquantifiable yet methodical investigation into its socio-psychological effect upon its users.
  • The Architect of today, who finds himself overwhelmed by the constantly updating technology and rapid obsolescence, must become flexible and develop a high level of adaptability and digital dexterity, to not only keep up with the ever-changing praxis, but to himself discover novel ways of spatial modelling, representation and productivity.
  • An Architect is but a mere tool without his critical force. An Architect must be a reasoning, questioning and critical individual with a curious approach towards making sense of his environment. This ability of sense-making through introspection, observation, discussion, research and play will be cultivated within a student at ISArch to overcome the inadequacies, if ever there were any, within their critical faculties.
  • At ISArch, we believe in a collaborative approach to education between the Academia, Industry and Praxis. As an Architect must balance between his academic idealism and professional imperatives upon entering the field, they must develop a cohesive cognition of the workings, problems and products of the market and the demands of the industry they will become a part of. We do toe a fine line between unbound creative expression and practical compulsion within the studio and the students explore their own inclinations, motivations and work-ideals as the next practitioner of Architecture through this journey.
  • The field of Architecture is hardly restrictive. It offers one an opportunity to explore the various sub-sets of one’s talents and skills which find application within the broad space of Architecture. A student’s journey through this course is unique and individualistic. It is therefore a goal in our minds to afford one a chance to find their own path towards architectural proficiency while honing their strengths to offset their weaknesses. An Architect is bound to be a ‘jack of all trades’, but it is our endeavor to inspire them to become the ‘master of some’; as we firmly believe that perfecting one special skill is far more valuable than mediocrity.
  • Finally, an Architect must learn to learn. To learn from their environment. To learn from their peers and from research. To learn from doing and from observation. To learn from a carpenter or a mason. To learn from an accountant or a lawyer. To learn how to formulate a question and to synthesize an answer. Architectural Design is ultimately a product of these deliberations.