Architecture is a completely practical science, asserts an M Arch student with enthusiasm gleaming in his eyes. He communicates the idea of architecture in a series of aphorisms and adages. Like, A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines. Architecture itself seems like a discipline that lends itself to such poetic truisms.
Defined as a combination of an art, a science and a business - the art of envisioning a structure, the science of fragmenting it for building and putting it together again, and the business of it all - architecture is like the user interface to civil engineering. Maybe that's why its students speak so well: it's the necessary charisma to talk to a client and extract his requirements.
The JNTU School Of Planning And Architecture
has a building designed and embellished in the same enthusiastic spirit that the students talk with. A model of the severely symmetric structure welcomes you into the lobby, and along all the walls are various artwork and abstract images, giving it a swishy look. The neat and new-looking premises, with even the students confined to their classes, give a clue of the bare and streamlined nature of the courses.
The degrees are B Arch, B Plan, M Arch and M Plan: all non-mainstream and niche areas, which is why the peculiar shipshape, not a hair out of place look of the college. It's a place only for those who have shown definite aptitude, and no wonder they don't mind sticking around for five whole years.
With the boundaries already established clearly, the students say they freak out studying here. Every year has around a 2-month slack period when students do field visits, and observe and critique various constructions around the city. The freewheeling is then reigned in with theory classes, after which students complete their own case studies.
The subjects sound like a great mix: from material science to anthropometrics (the study of human body measurement), architecture comes across as a new generation multi-disciplinary and combinatorial field, constantly evolving and drawing on on-field developments. On the whole, the courses are laden with creative exercises and hands-on work. The students, predictably, are not asking for more!
As far as extra-curriculars go, the annual 3-day fete (called Manasara last year) invites huge crowds from the other two architecture schools in the city: CSIT and SVCA. Designing games, debating, cricket, football, food stalls and disco nights are held. Non-architecture colleges are not invited because, in the words of the students, they would get bored! The National Association Of Students Of Architecture also organizes yearly competitions nationwide, where students from here take part enthusiastically, bringing together all 5 years in teams.
At the end of five years, students often practice on their own or go onto study further abroad. A few architect firms in Hyderabad employ them too. The pay scales aren't great, but most who come here are the creative kinds who are out to experiment and explore, and will stick around doing their own thing.
On the whole, it's an artist's abode that seems to accidentally intersect with the realms of a science. Here is where you will go if you knew it all your life!