Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Make an Architect : The 7 year Curse


Like most Architects I too was a victim of the 7 year curse. That’s the 7 years spent in becoming an Architect. (CSA students are even more cursed…they get 7+) To become an architect one must first get the basic degree (B. Sc) which is a 3 year course and then work at an architectural practice for one year to be eligible to enter a 2 year masters course. Then again he/she/it has to spend another 1 year at an architectural practice in order to sit for the SLIA (Sri Lanka Institute of Architect) part III examination. (BSc and Msc exempts SLIA part I and part II)

The first year at University, was more or less a “wandering in the dark” episode for me. The lecturers seem to ooze of a self proclaimed aura of architectural knighthood, and they weren’t really amused with my attitude either. I was never a Marxist (a student who grovels for marks) hence I never did get that many marks.

It is common understanding that once you enter through to the halls of the faculty of architecture that an architecture student completely abdicates his right of sleeping at night. And after sometime when you see your family sleeping at night you begin to think that there’s something wrong with them.

Crits are another amusing little affair that you get exposed to at archi-school. After weeks of designing, endless nights of drawings up pretty looking pictures, and hundreds of cutter knife cuts on your hands, some guy comes and blasts you to Timbuktu. Ah! The joy!....

Sleepless nights inevitably translate as sleeping through lectures, and I really can’t recall a single lecturer that hasn’t made me sleep. I vividly remember how the urban planning lecturer tossed me out of class in lieu of my habits.

If the students survive these three years they then face the ultimate challenge. The CDP (comprehensive design project) a design which in theory should be buildable. (But in reality you only need a bunch of nice fancy pictures, some fancy lingo, and a nice smile.) I recall my CDP with utter hatred. It deprived me of the joys of dining in the numerous “dansals” since CDP is held mostly in the month of May. Answering the primordial call for our colonial affinity to white skin, a sudhdha fellow from the RIBA, (Royal Institute of British Architects) is flown down for this special occasion. Some pass, some fail, some stay indifferent. It’s said that once a student even resorted to commit suicide after failing and another interesting student resorted to chase a lecturer with a knife. Interesting!

The year off at an office is quite a change. You get the opportunity to sharpen you CAD monkey skills and you also get the chance to becoming an architect cum receptionist cum peon cum tea maker. Most of all you get the chance to actually get to see how real architects work. (Then worship the ground they tread upon)

One year there and then back to campus for the two years of M.Sc. These two years seem to drift away faster than the previous three. Lecturers seem to take a different stand on how to treat the students (apparently they think the students have matured by now, goes to show how little they actually know) then arrives again the dreaded CDP. The sudda fellow is dragged back again to the island of small miracles.

Thrown out again to the field, the student labors one year at an architectural practice, this time with a bit more respect added, and then the SLIA part III.

Some are fortunate enough to get through this ordeal in one shot. But this is seldom not the case. There are reported instances of students actually trying to claim the prescripted right to the buildings themselves.

In the end of the whole process, if every thing goes as it should, you end up with a fine architect.

Well maybe not a “fine” one, but at least you get a Chartered Architect.

12 comments:

aufidius said...

curse indeed! i just finished three years of the curse! whats more cursier is that all ppl who look at my work are RIBA sudda fellows!

Arkitekton said...

Ah! you have two more glorious years ahead of you to look forward to! My deepest sympathies... :)

illegalarchitect said...

Let me invite you Legal Architect and Future Legal Architect to the ‘World of Illegal Architects’ where you practice without the seven year curse or the hangovers of the academic and professional training!

Arkitekton said...

Thanx for the invitation illegalarchitect, how ever i have already tread through the cursed road and have attained legal architectdom. I was under the impression that you were still studying at the City School of Crapitecture? ;)

illegalarchitect said...

Oh dude, Illegal Architect too went thru’ the damned gates of Mora, first to be welcomed by the seniors and later to be ragged mainly by one megalomaniac theorist who preached some strange architectural gospel from his scummy Numb-moon-e arse.

check this out: http://gotu-arch.blogspot.com/2008/08/yes-darling-it-was-cool-to-get-ragged.html

Arkitekton said...

Oops...ok.. sorry man... I just saw that SLIA image on yer blog and assumed that you were a CSAite. awesome post that!....paints a very vivid picture of ragging indeed.
Fortunately or Unfortunately,during my time there, ragging was somewhat non existent.

Arkitekton said...

Numb-moon-e arse...hahahaha!
I actually enjoyed his lectures...and his -5 marking scheme....I gather you weren't a fan!

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