This paper was discussed in the first session of the symposium named “The Learning Universe”. The organisers had suggested to focus on the issues towards “... evolving architectural consciousness which allows us to learn from our experiences of the everyday world, transform this into knowledge and ability to recognise wisdom... integrity of mind and body, material and spiritual values with concerns for civilization (and cultural) values”

To my observation, the focus of the session named to be on value Systems, value Judgements, value Education in Architecture: conceptual, perceptual and experiencing. Architecture is the seventh art and therefore, is inclusive of the preceding six arts – music, dance, poetry, painting, sculpture and theatre. Architecture is also a social art, a practical art, an engineering art and a spatio-environmental art. How to train a student into experiencing, perceiving and conceptualising the mind, energies, forms, functions… as synonyms of the evolving and the becoming, the constantly changing “whole” — the universe? Where he himself is a part, and at the same time is a creator, builder and user, all in one. How to organise architectural education, training, curriculum planning and implementation and the support infrastructures towards this qualitative personality development of a school – that is the issue.

Value education is a personal education where each individual goes through a process of self-evaluation and development in the context of his perceivable environments.

Louis I Kahn while writing on education said, “Schools began with the man under a tree, who did not know he was a teacher, discussing his realisations with a few who did not know they were students. The learning group reflect on what was exchanged and how good it was to be in the presence of this man. They aspired that even their children should also listen to such a man. Our vast systems of education now vested in institutions stem from these little schools, but the spirit of their beginning is soon forgotten. The rooms of our institutions of learning are stereotyped and uninspiring. Uniform locker lined corridors. I think of schools as an environment of spaces where it is good to learn…”

Prof. Kahn talked of the idea of an individual communicated to several individuals, who after due deliberations, accept the ideas, only when these are found “acceptable” through the process of checks and counterchecks over a period of time, intelligently, sensually and the level of performance they generate in patterns of life and learning.

THE INDIVIDUAL ‘I’ IS IN FOCUS. The ‘I’ in a group expanded from several ‘I’s, a school generates a certain philosophy, patterns of thought, belief structures and implementing processes. The idea was demonstrated through the following:

  • Meaning of Self - I: Relationship of the Part to the Whole
  • Meaning of Self - II: Relationship of the Whole to the Particular
  • Life is efficiency in its fullest manifestations

The discussion was further led to the Vedic idea of the “architectural processes of the world – the processes of ordering time, space and forms – the process called ‘Panchi Karan’, the becoming of worlds where the man is the micro reflex of the universal totally at all the existence levels of idea, process and medium – of the macro universe.

In order to communicate with this source, man expands himself. He expands ideas, expands energies and builds tools, systems and vehicles. For example, the speed of legs expanded to that of bicycles, automotive, rockets, etc. similarly, in architecture – the shelter and the habitat are expansions of the total man – both between the individual and the universal scales of self. Architecture is only the extended process of the evolution of a place, time and people. God’s universe is complete only with man, without him it is incomplete. Man is complete only with his expanding tools, without them he is incomplete.

This thought was communicated through the charts:

  • Vedic Wisdom in Architectural Design: A holistic view
  • Architectural Transformations process: Mediums, Processes and Value Judgements (mind)

Next, the application of the above thoughts was viewed in the context of architectural education system. The following charts demonstrated:

  • Architectural Education: a comprehensive model
  • Architectural Education: an operational logistic model

Thereafter, the topic of eco-cultures was touched upon. The three traditions: Perennial changing and contemporary operate simultaneously at all scales: Global, Regional, and Local. India is rich in eco-cultures, (ecological impact on the culture of people), historic traditions as well as developing contemporary cultures. All these vary from place to place.

  • The scope of architectural personality and professional scope in architecture are both widening and getting highly diversified.
  • Metropolitan architecture in India is tending towards global international techno-management efficiencies. This trend has temporarily slowed down due to the current political instability for the last three years. The liberalisation policy, thee NRI and Multinational Firms are the causes of this development.
  • The small and average towns have traditional heritage pull with the developmental push (74th amendment of the legislation)
  • The vast Rural Development Sector (73rd amendment of legislation) has community participation as an added architectural dimension.

When we observe various aspects: metabolic, morphological, metaphysical, socio-economic and cultural dimensions in the sliding scales from Micro, Maso and Macro levels, it emerges that architectural education is not a simple matter of information dissipation. It deals with the entire life and living of man and his societies, continuing traditions and his developmental progress. It is not limited to architectonic stylisation or the visual only, it is the evolutionary progression of man in nature.

  • Architectural Education has to deal with the man making progress, personality development of an architect who participates and is well versed in the processes of evolution, development and generative forces which make sustainable, healthy and a joyous living environment.
  • The training in the skills of the hands, the heart and the head are inclusive.
  • The evaluation methods should take into cognisance both educational as well as training aspects.
  • Learning in architecture is predominantly sensual and perceptual. More of field visits, laboratories, studios, workshops and tutorials; less of lecture courses. Most schools of architecture are extremely poor at these facilities. They generally share engineering laboratories and workshops. No school in the world has a lab to ‘experience’ architectural qualities of daylight at different times of different seasons. Our weekly timetables are no different from any science, arts or engineering programme. Field visits are mere ‘trips’ than ‘camping’. Can’t we have mobile studios which take students of each semester in tours to “live and experience studies” of typical eco-cultural zones? Take them to great artisans and teachers. There can be several such issues which we architectural educationalists can question and develop a unique personality of each school in our country.