and Interior Design
No longer do people
want to live in ordinary houses. Today, everybody wants a
functional dwelling place which also looks good. At the same
time, space comes at a premium and it must be designed well
so that maximum functions can be done from constricted
quarters. These trends have given a boost to architects and
trained interior designers. In this feature, we discuss
architecture as a career option and explore the prospects for
architects and interior designers.
A direct consequence of the affluence that has resulted in
the past few years is that people want better looking homes,
and within rooms, maximum convenience and ease. If earlier,
people were content to use a design to satisfy the needs of
urban planning laws, now they want well-designed functional
units. Space has, in any case, become constricted at least in
the cities, so that everyone wants more from what is
available. The need for designing has also become great
because telephones, computer and television have become
common, and there must be proper space for these. No longer
are houses made by just putting a few rooms together. Aspects
like natural heat and light must also be considered.
A trained architect can achieve these things for any space.
Spaces are transformed by applying just a little thought. The
services of architects are, therefore, much in demand, and
are expected to improve further in the near future. Some
people want homes made on the lines of traditional science,
like the Vaastu Shastra, which is considered beneficial for
those living in such houses. A person trained in these things
will find much work. However, architecture is not about
designing buildings only; an architect must know the
intricacies of construction management, the knowledge of
various materials available and the latest practices in the
A related profession is that of interior design. This is a
less rigorous task, since it involves doing the interiors as
per the needs of the client. Many people have got into
interior designing without any formal degree, provided they
had a knack for doing up the rooms. Usually, architects take
up the job of interior design as well, though there are
people who exclusively do interior design.
Where to study
At the outset, it may be said that both architecture and
interior design requires a creative talent. You must be good
in drawing and have an artistic bent of mind. If you have
been making sketches as a hobby, show these to someone who is
professionally qualified, so as to assess your suitability in
the field. It may also be remembered that architectural
design is not like normal painting or drawing and many
technical aspects must be kept in mind. So, merely an
artistic bent of mind may not be sufficient for becoming an
architect. Also required is a knack for technical drawing.
To study architecture, you have to appear in the entrance
examinations of various institutes. Many of these are
conducted jointly with the pre-engineering test. The basic
qualification is class 12. Usually, one is tested for
creative skills and mathematics, since architecture involves
mathematical drawings and models. The course leads to the B.
Arch, degree, which can be obtained from any of the following
School of Architecture, CEPT, Ahmedabad.
Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Mumbai.
School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
Chandigarh College of Architecture.
Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal.
Ansals and Habitat School, New Delhi.
Regional engineering colleges all over India.
Interior design courses are offered by private institutes and
Prepare for hard work during the degree, as you will be
taught not only the elements of design, but things to keep in
mind while designing different buildings like hospitals,
schools and homes. Thus, one must be aware of building
techniques and materials, urban planning basics and so on.
The jobs available are with firms of architects, or with
urban planning agencies. Town planners are in great demand as
cities expand and services must be provided for increasing
population. After a few years of getting to know the ropes,
one can start a consultancy of one's own, depending on one's
inclination. Alternately, one can go for higher studies. The
Master of Architecture is available at many universities
abroad. The National University of Singapore offers several
programmes for architects. These are: a) Master of
Architecture, b) Master of ArtsUrban Design, c) Master of
Science (Building Science), d) Master of Science (Project
Management) and e) Master of Science (Real Estate). The
courses cover various aspects like Contemporary Design,
Building Technology, Urban Design, Architectural Practice and
so on. Doing a course abroad has the advantage that one
learns of the latest techniques and practices.
A related field is interior design. This is also becoming an
important subject, since offices and homes must be both
aesthetic and functional. Awareness is increasing about the
importance of interior design. The entry of multinationals
has made all the difference, since they pay a lot of
attention to how the office looks. Indian firms are also
following suit as they have realised that a good office
results in better public relations. The scope of the interior
designer has multiplied in recent times, more so in cities,
but equally in small towns as well.
Usually, architects do the work of interiors, but it leaves
much scope for free-lance interior decorators. This is so
because small jobs such as doing an office or a house would
not be given to an architect. An aesthetic sense, colour
combinations, a knowledge of art materials available from
different States these are the requirements of an interior
designer. A person having a degree in home science or a
diploma in interior design can look forward to a career in
interior design. However, do not expect a full-time job in
the beginning. A talent for such things is an essential
pre-requisite for interior design. However, it is not merely
art that is required; also needed is a sense of utilising
available space for maximum benefit.
One can do a course in interior design from a institute.
Those with formal qualifications, such as from a premier
institute like the National Institute of Design (NID),
Ahmedabad, are rated higher. Ultimately, however, it is
talent that matters. A course is also offered by Jenson &
Nicholson Division Interior-Exteriors in various cities.
However, the quality of the course varies from city to city,
so one must be careful while joining. The institute was
closed down in Chandigarh, leaving many students in the
Things to be careful about
A career in architecture and interior design is ideal for the
artistic-minded, but there are some things to be careful
about. First, it must be remembered that though people do
want a good design, quite often they are unwilling to pay
the services rendered. The fee charged is a percentage of the
total value of the work, and clients often feel that building
cost should not be included. Moreover, clients may feel that
the designer is sourcing at higher rates just for increase in
his commission and friction may result. This is indeed a grey
area in this field. Since payments are made after completion
of the work, there is little that a designer can do once the
job is over. A fixed fee may be a better option, but clients
may still feel that it is too high, considering the fact that
it is only a "design". In fact, the job may entail travelling
to various places in order to source the materials, which is
never considered by the client. The ideal way is to get
associated with a firm of builders or architects, at least
initially. Architects also have to be clear whether they
would have to supervise the construction work or not.
Sometimes, they become important links between the client,
contractor and the urban planning agency. The scope of work
must be clearly spelled out before work is begun.
Secondly, designers and artists usually lack business sense.
The work may involve more than what one bargained for. One
must learn some ways of estimating hours and expenses, just
as management consultants do.
If one keeps the above in mind, interior design could be a
good career option. It is ideally suited for ladies who wish
to work on a part-time basis. If one has a good training, one
can continue with this career even after marriage. This could
be a way of being independent without the long hours that a
regular job requires.
Finally, it may be said that a career in architecture and
interior design can turn out to be a very satisfying one.
These days there is a requirement for low cost homes and
buildings and an innovative architect can make a great name.
Alternately, one can go abroad as architects are paid very
well in USA and Europe. The avenues are many, but the bottom
line is to be good in the field. One must be aware of the
latest trends and be able to suggest a design that the client
has not thought of. This is where the architectural
profession becomes a highly intellectual one.