Architecture is a social art that touches all human beings at all levels of their existence everywhere and everyday. This is the only discipline, which encompasses the four major fields of human endeavour : Humanities, Science, Art, and Technology, actually putting into practice the professional inputs drawn from them. In sum, Architecture is the matrix of human civilization - an authentic measure of the social status, and an evocative expression of the ethos of an era. When conserved, it is heritage and when in ruins, it becomes archaeology, reconstructing tell-tale pictures of the past civilizations.
The demands on the profession over the years have become much more complex in nature and much wider in scope. Architecture uses the philosophic wholesomeness of Humanities, the logical rationalism of Science, the passionate imagination of Art and the inexhaustible resources of Technology. It calls for originality, creativity, conceptualization, perception, aesthetic values, and a holistic judgment of people, places, objects and events.
Architecture is primarily the art and science of designing spaces for serving the multifarious activities of human beings and for meeting their specific needs in a meaningful built environment. When various engineering services are rationally combined with Architecture's basic elements of Space, Structure and Form, the performance of human functions and the operation of mechanical utilities become efficient, pleasant and fulfilling. However, in its broadened scope and baffling complexity, Architecture has generated specializations such as Structural Design, Urban Design, City Planning, Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture. Retrofitting of Buildings, Architectural Conservation, Construction Management have also lately emerged as specializations. Each of these compliment and support each other.
The primary objective of Structural Design is to evolve a strong, durable and an efficient skeleton so that the space which architecture encloses, and the form in which it expresses itself as interior content and an exterior container, becomes an organic extension of one another. Structure is so fundamental to architecture that it actually determines its two-pronged functions; the utilitarian appropriateness and the expressive power of aesthetics. Structural design as a creative discipline assumes an indispensable position as a natural extension of Architectural Design. Endowed with an extraordinary power of conceptualization and creativity, an architect can conjure up unprecedented structural systems leading to the genesis of design-ideas introducing new concepts of Space and Form. In other words, the architect's contribution to structural design can effectively bring about qualitative change in the built-environment to stimulate the advancement of society towards a higher order of civilization.
Urban Design is architecture of the cities, highly complex and gargantuan in scale. The primary aim of urban design is to imbibe and maintain a sense of identity and harmony among buildings, open spaces and other structures by means of a pleasant and memorable visual imagery throughout the length and breadth of an urban setting. Accessibility at city-level and the movement at all levels must be designed to operate smoothly. Volumetric relationships, harmonious spatial sequences, transition from buildings to open spaces, streetscape and the services infrastructure must together invest a townscape with an exclusive imageability.
Landscape Architecture deals with the analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation of land and also determines the environmental impact. It is a science capable of objective analysis and synthesis leading to an ecologically-sensitive design, which is self-sustainable. It integrates from the very conception, the elements of architecture, urban design and civil engineering for meaningful and practical solutions. Landscape architecture covers a wide spectrum of professional expertise, ranging from landscape planning at the regional and city scale on the one end, to the small and medium scale of public and private landscape at the other. It involves dealing with such sites as office plazas/ public squares, highways, city parks/ national parks, housing developments, institutional campuses, zoological and botanical parks.
In case of Interior Architecture, the primary objective is to generate a purposeful ambience such as would stimulate the user's creative potential through multifarious activities. It must facilitate the individual's sense of orientation, identification and eventual appropriation of architectural spaces, that meld the interiors and exteriors into symbiotic relationships through varied experiences of scale, volume, light and shade. Interiors are not only to protect the users from the extremes of weather but also to nurture them emotionally. Since the interior spaces are truly the life-force of any building, they must be designed (and not decorated) as detailed artistic articulation of the basic architectural concept with deep insight and sensitivity to fulfill the fundamental functional and aesthetic needs that are efficient and pleasant to live and work in. The development of design is a very conscious act and it infuses life into interiors subconsciously.
Creativity is the essence of architecture and harmony an essential aim of architects. Architecture that has been recognized as great, in the historic past as well as in our own time, has been harmonious with nature and its immediate environment. These are the essential tenets of design which architects aspire to follow.
Architecture Design essentially is a product of an individual mind but realized through association of experts from allied fields who contribute in the process of construction. Mutual respect and understanding work wonders for ensuring high quality of the end-product.
The architectural profession feels deeply concerned towards national priorities in the fields of energy conservation, ecology, environmental pollution, protection and preservation of architectural heritage and their precincts, low-cost housing, urban renewals, rural upliftment, economic development at local and district levels, etc. in the interest of quality of life both in rural and urban settlements.
The practice of the architectural profession is regulated by the Architects Act, 1972, and the regulations framed thereunder. The Council of Architecture has prescribed the Conditions of Engagement and Scale of Charges under the Architects (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 1989. The documents stipulate the parameters within which the Architect is required to function. These define the responsibilities, the scope of work and services, and prescribe the mandatory minimum scale of professional charges with a view to making the Client fully aware of the duties and services which he may expect from the Architect. The professional services required by the Client may not be comprehensive in scope in all cases and accordingly a clear understanding between the two must be arrived at. The Council of Architecture has prescribed the Conditions of Engagement based on general practice of the profession in India. These documents are applicable to all registered architects and such architects who have specialized in areas such as Structural Design, Urban Design, City Planning, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture and Architectural Conservation.
The revised version of these documents reflects the Council's response to the many challenges which the profession of Architecture is facing at present, and is constantly endeavouring to meet them with active concern and unflinching commitment.
* Prescribed under regulation 2(1)(xii) of the Architects Professional Conduct Regulations, 1989. This revised document was approved by the Council of
Architecture at its 40th Meeting held on 12th and 13th April, 2002, vide Resolution No. 303.