While most other architecture colleges focus on training students to become professional architects, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, we offer a diverse and research-oriented learning experience,” says P.S. Chani, who took over as the head of the department of architecture and planning at the IIT in 2017. Located in Uttarakhand’s Roorkee city, the department is part of a sprawling 365-acre campus that was established in 1847 as the Thomason College of Civil Engineering. The institution went on to become the seventh IIT in 2001. Befitting its stature as a premier architecture institution, the department’s building stands out due to its well-appointed interiors.
It offers a conventional undergraduate programme in architecture and two programmes in architecture and urban and rural planning at the postgraduation level. Research is the core strength of the department. According to Chani, eight new state-of-the-art labs-on NET-ZED (net zero energy dwelling), inclusive design, virtual reality, regional planning, urban design and system dynamics-have been set up in the past two years. The faculty is in the process of developing a ‘low carbon construction protocol’ for the NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) and are awaiting a copyright on the recently completed ready reckoner for calculating embodied energy rates for buildings.
13 is the average years of teaching experience of the 18 permanent faculty members
Apart from its many inhouse facilities, the department benefits from being part of an institution spanning multiple aspects of engineering and technology. The students have an open access to IIT-Roorkee’s common tinkering lab to test ideas as well as an incubation centre to nurture start-ups. “More and more students are nowadays keen to become entrepreneurs,” says Chani. The faculty members encourage the participation of students and research scholars in their ongoing projects. Prof. Avlokita Agarwal of the department is, for instance, setting up a virtual reality darkroom that will enable virtual access to iconic buildings all over the world, and she has involved her students in the project. Gaurav Raheja, a faculty member, specialises in inclusive design and is working on the ministry of defence projects. Another faculty member, Uttam Roy, is leading a Rs 2.4 crore project for the development of Patna. Ram Satish, an urban design specialist at the institution, is working with the Andhra Pradesh government on the new state capital, Amaravati, and Prof. Raj Shekhar has a Rs. 12 crore collaborative project to develop protocols for energy-efficient housing in Uttarakhand.
299,878 books available in the library
The department’s students have been expanding their sphere of knowledge and information beyond the scope of their designated curriculum with Curious Columns, a society comprising some 40 members. The group regularly organises lectures and workshops by inhouse and guest faculty. Further, the department actively takes part in Thomso, the annual cultural festival, and Cognizance, the annual tech fest. Architecture students also participate in the annual NASA (National Association of Students of Architecture) convention.
The department organises two events: Cognizance, the annual tech fest, and Thomso, the annual cultural festival
In addition to a well-stocked library and the central Mahatma Gandhi Library, which houses the largest collection of print and digital documents in any engineering institution, students have access to the multi-activity centre, students’ activity centre and the ‘hangar’, a large convocation hall that was once used to park aircraft.
The IIT-Roorkee has 20 hostels for students and research scholars, including accommodation for married research scholars. Each of these units has high-speed wi-fi access. Work is also under way to provide free high speed wi-fi access to all academic departments and common areas.
What is unique about your department?
A strong focus on research and an academic environment that prepares students to aspire for a lot more than merely becoming professional architects.
What are the initiatives taken in the past three years?
Eight new labs for NET-ZED, inclusive design, virtual reality, system dynamics, regional planning, urban design and the creative aspects of architecture; also, projects to develop low carbon construction protocols for the NBCC; design aspects of Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh; development of Patna city, energy-efficient housing for cold climates and the use of vernacular material in construction.
A review of the current course curriculum so that it is in sync with the digital age and upgraded workshops with state-of-the-art laser cutters and 3D printers.
What is unique about your department?
It’s an IIT, it has the best infrastructure in terms of academics, cultural activity and sports.
One change I want…
The first-year curriculum should have more practical tutorials and field study.
The best facility…
Unrestricted access to high-speed internet via LAN in all hostel rooms of the institute.