“Valley’s first architecture school competing with great institutions of India”
Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Syed Ausaf, a 9th-semester student of School of Architecture (SoA) Kashmir, was recently selected as an intern and subsequently as collaborator at DBS (Di Bearardino et Sovran) Architects, a Switzerland-based Architect Firm that designs and develops architectural projects, landscapes and urban planning.
Ausaf, who is also working on a research project on Disaster Management Centre Srinagar, said the college has been imparting quality education to the students.
“During Covid-19, teachers worked very hard and assured that students did not miss any class. They are always available on a call,” he said.
In every semester the student are involved in creative architect projects and taken to architecture sites, which is a very important part of the course.
The SOA Kashmir was established in 2017 by J&K Government and has the distinction of being the valley’s first such technical institution. The school is affiliated with University of Kashmir.
Located at Ganderbal, the school offers an undergraduate degree in Architecture program which is a five-year program.At present, the school has an enrollment of 100 students.
The students actively participle and are involved with various government and private agencies associated with architectural field assisting them in various projects.
Apart from this, the students of SoA-Kashmir frequently organize exhibitions and workshops related to art, culture, history and various other creative fields producing an atmosphere of knowledge and awareness at their college. Notable personalities of various creative fields also attend these workshops.
Recently, students from the school presented papers at International Research Symposium on Urban Villages, A transformational discourse in architecture and planning organized by Urban Village Charitable Trust (UVCT) in collaboration with Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) New Delhi.
Students and professors from various institutes including Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, CEPTAhmedabad, Chandigarh College of Architecture and renowned architects and academicians shared their views on the theme and presented papers on various topics.
Another student bagged first position in painting competition held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on the theme “Gandhian Philosophy” at the divisional level.
Dr Rauf Ahmad Khan, principal of the college said, “Despite being valleys first ever architectural college and in such short span of time, students have been able to compete with their colleagues of other great institutions across the country. They also appreciated the role of all faculty members in imparting knowledge to the students and shaping their careers.”
The college was initially setup at Abdul Ahad Azad Memorial Degree College, Bemina, with an intake capacity of 40 seats each year.
Thereafter, SoA-Kashmir was shifted to its permanent campus at Safapora adjacent to Govt. College of Engineering & Technology, Safapora, Ganderbal, in January, 2020.
“The need for an architecture college in Kashmir was realised keeping in view the rapid urbanization and haphazard planning, inflicting severe damage to the fragile hill ecosystem and unique landscape of the region,” the principal said.
He said the dilution of heritage character and lack of understanding towards the functioning of various natural systems has consequences upon the city and its people.
Dr Rauf said the college intends at imparting knowledge that creates harmony between the built form and the natural environment, therefore, promoting efficient development.
“Architecture is a desirable career choice for those with creative minds. Additionally, there are a huge variety of specializations and career options available,” he said.
Dr Rauf said site visits and study tours to places of architectural importance are vital part of the B.Arch course curriculum.
“We conduct regular site visits to places of architectural importance, such as Martand Sun Temple, Mullah Akhun Shah Mosque, and conducts heritage walks in collaboration with local NGOs etc. Recently students from various batches also conducted a study tour to Ladakh, known for its rich heritage and cultural values,” he said.
The study tour aimed at providing holistic understanding of various traditional/indigenous architectural techniques, understanding the value of landscape heritage and insight on extreme landscape architecture and geomorphology.
Dr Rauf said that SOA ensures proper mentoring of students which is being constantly done which makes them capable of leading the society wherever they go.
“Through the course of 5 years and with NEP-2020 implementation, the college aims to train the students to face modern-day challenges in profession as well as in life with great intellect,” he said.
The curriculum is designed in such a way that students feel welcomed to be indulged in all activities that take place. The college believes that wherever these students go, they should reflect the lessons of humility, intelligence and kindness and bring great glory to the valley as well as their profession.
Today, the college is in its 5th year of existence and the senior year students have already bagged internships/regular positions at various architectural firms/organizations across globe including DBS - Switzerland, Studio San Gath Ahmedabad, Advance Concepts and Design Studio Pune, Urbanisma Consulting Groups Malaysia etc.
“The College welcomes all the aspiring architects to become a part of this short but great journey and collectively make this college a success,” he said.
The Architecture school at various platforms has time and again reminded the authorities about the need to take concrete steps in order to protect the heritage character of Jammu and Kashmir.