Architecture, as a profession in its own right, has been recognized only in the last one hundred years. Earlier perceptions of the calling varied from artisan skill to an extension of engineering. Wherever human settlements grow there arises a need for the devising and construction of shelter. This appreciation of the architect's role as vital to improving the quality of life has brought respect and high social standing to members of the profession.
In India, with the expansion of architectural education, the number of architects has grown from less than 300 at the time of Independence, to nearly 15,000 today. Most, however, are concentrated in the big cities, mainly Delhi and Bombay.
The ratio of architects to population, at one per 60,000 people is still very much lower than it is in developed countries. Our current rate of economic and industrial growth has increased the need for architectural services in every area of development. Recently there has been some movement towards the study and application of indigenous building styles and techniques and this area offers great scope to young, interested professionals.
Architecture is a multi-disciplinary profession that synthesizes design, sociological, technological and environmental expertise in the conception and execution of buildings. More specifically an architect is defined as one who Architecture organizes space and regulates enclosures for different functions. This involves the co-ordination of diverse elements at every stage, from plan drawings to construction.
For many years, the field was dominated by men, who comprised 85 per cent of the total number of professionals registered. Lately, the trend has begun to change, as more women enroll in architectural colleges and prove themselves as capable as their male colleagues. There is no conventional system of promotion and a young architect can rise very quickly through talent and hard work. Success in the architectural profession is measured by the size of responsibility entrusted to an individual, an invitation to partnership in a firm or, ideally, a well-established private practice.
Basic training qualifies an architecture graduate to design and execute any type of building or complex-from an individual residence to group housing, hospitals, hotels, commercial plazas, factories and work and leisure areas. On receiving their degree, some architects join public or private organizations. Others have arranged themselves into three basic formats:
· The large firms run by a partnership of two or more architects, sometimes in association with a consulting engineer and employing a considerable staff.
· The small design group of a few professionals, working as a team.
· Individual practice.
Architects sometimes also collaborate with one another on specific projects. There appears to be no real attempt at specialization within these categories, except in that the larger firms are equipped with the staff and resources to undertake construction and maintenance of bigger jobs. On a personal level architects sometimes prefer to branch out into:
· Interior design
Product design of any sort, including furniture design.
With a post-graduate degree, an architect can specialize in:
· Building engineering management
· Architectural conservation
· Urban design
· Landscape architecture
· Transport planning
· Housing and environmental planning
· Regional planning
· Urban planning.