Monday, April 27, 2009

De centralizing Architecture in Sri Lanka.

The only body which governs Architecture in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects which was established in 1948. In 1976, through a private member’s motion by the then Minister of Housing and Construction, the Hon. Pieter Keuneman, the Ceylon Institute of Architects was incorporated as the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) by an Act of Parliament, called Sri Lanka Institute of Architects Law No.1 of 1976.

After Incorporation, the Institute was called upon to perform important public duties and to take responsibility for the education and examination of architects for the purpose of providing a professional qualification. In order to improve the services offered to the members and public,

Since then, the Institute has adopted Standing Orders, and a Code of Conduct, and has established a Board of Architectural Education to serve its members, the General Public and the construction industry of Sri Lanka.

A long overdue amendment to the SLIA Law was presented to Parliament in 1996 by the then Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Public Utilities, Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva. The SLIA is grateful to the late Hon. Pieter Keuneman and Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva for the kind assistance extended to further the architectural profession in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (Amendment) Law No. 14 of 1996 vested power in the Institute to form an “Architects Registration Board”. With the formation of this Board in February 1997 all those who practice the profession of architecture in Sri Lanka are required to register under three categories namely “Chartered Architects”, “Architects”, and “Architectural Licentiates’.

At both the Faculty of Architecture and the City school of Architecture, Architectural education follows the same pathway it had been following since the inception of the field of study in Sri Lanka. Recently however the University has adopted a B [Arch] course instead of the B. Sc [BE] and M. Sc [Arch]. The B [Arch] was supposed to update the old system by way of reducing the period of time which a Student has to study architecture, as well as to create specialization in the field. [Of which, neither has been achieved]

At present we have professional Town Planners, Designers [Ceramic, Fashion, Jewelry, Furniture], Quantity surveyors, Urban designers, Landscape designers getting passed out from the same faculty but from different departments. Previously there wasn’t a Town and country planning department, there wasn’t a Department of Design. All who choose these professions had to come through the department of Architecture or to be qualified internationally.

Sri Lanka still seems to be lacking a university course in Interior Designing, and Project Management. Project Management how ever is offered as Masters in the University of Moratuwa both in the Civil Engineering Department as well as the Quantity Surveying Department.

The need of the Architecture curriculum to be decentralized is evermore evident as we see mushroom organizations proclaiming affiliates to foreign universities pledge prospective student a solid future in these associated professions.

The ancient, traditional cultures and languages used the same word for both builder and architect. The word Architect comes from the word Arkitekton which mean Master builder. Construction was an integrated craft. The master mason or carpenter knew how to design structures, estimate costs, assemble labor and materials, and manage the construction process from foundation to roof. With the industrial revolution came new materials, machines, techniques, regulations, etc. in order for the profession to evolve it is essential that it is diversified. In most professions we see diversification. E.g.: Doctors are classified as Gynecologist, Psychologist, and Neurologist etc. Lawyers are classified as criminal, contract etc. Engineers are classified as electronic, electrical, Mechanical etc.

If Architecture was to be decentralized or specialized we would probably see Conceptual Architects, Project Managers, Design Managers, General Designers, Specialist Designers (Airports, Hospitals, Museums), Interior Designers, Landscape Designers, Urban Designers, Digital Designers all rolled in to one single professional body. The positive side of this can be seen both from a professional perspective as well as a general perspective. At a professional level the Architect would be able to secure his place as the Team leader. Since it is the idea of the architect which initiates the whole project Architect should essentially be the Team leader. In instances where the architect is not able to ascertain his role is where we see building which bring discredit to its environment. In a general view the client would be getting exactly what he expected and what was designed without being bamboozled in to accepting what the engineer or the contractor is capable of building.

It is time that Architecture was decentralized and took its place in building the Nation as it was intended to be!


Anonymous said...

thank you