The Department Of Architecture And Planning, IIT Roorke
THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING was established in 1956 on the IIT Roorkee campus, which is currently celebrating its 175th year. A department of architecture moulded in an inter-disciplinary and technological environment makes it a unique blend for learning the art of creating environments. Being one of the early institutions in independent India, it has seen a range of transformations in the world of architecture and planning, technologies and urban systems. Today, it traverses the domains of urban futures and sustainability, along with several other inter-disciplinary linkages.
The first batch graduated from the department in 1961. Today, the department has over 157 undergraduate students studying Bachelor of Architecture. The department started its Master’s programme in Architecture (MArch) in 1969 and Masters in Urban and Rural Planning (MURP) in 1971, and today, enrols over 63 students in these postgraduate courses. The doctoral programme offered by the department has more than 120 scholars. The Department of Architecture and Planning also hosts international students as part of its unique cross-cultural learning environment.
With an inner courtyard and a green foreground, the department has transformed over the years from a mere architecture and planning institute to a research and learning space hosting a cross-section of curious learners across the nation and beyond. No wonder, “Curious Columns” remains the title of the official student body of the department that organises various activities beyond the classroom.
The faculty forms an integral driver of knowledge production and sharing supported by a younger, talented group of students. Peer learning with intra-departmental activities and inter-departmental forums continues to drive the competitive spirit and provides an engaging campus life. A mix of intellectual and creative independence along with entrepreneurial pursuit is evident in the department environs. It drives the pedagogy with research and an experimental outlook, keeping it open and evolving to adapt to new challenges.
Research and professional excellence remain paramount. The Department of Architecture and Planning over the past few years has developed various research laboratories. Some of these laboratories include Built Environment Lab, Virtual Reality Lab, Net Zero Lab, Infrastructure Planning Lab, Laboratory of Inclusive Design (LID), Spatial Planning Lab (SPARSH), Sustainable Urban and Regional Analysis Lab (SURREAL), Civic Design Lab, Fabrication lab, etc. The research canvas of the department ranges from sustainable development to energy studies, from smart cities to master plans, from inclusive cities to accessible built environments,
from tribal or vernacular settlement studies to crafts and society, among many others.
The department is currently working on several research and consultancy projects from numerous national and international funding agencies, including the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, UKIERI, British Council, USAID, DAAD, etc. Several ongoing international collaborations of exchange with Japan, the UK, Germany, the US, and other nations further amplify global connections and learning.
Among the significant achievements in 2021, the department’s doctoral scholars and faculty received international fellowships under the Newton Bhaba Fellowship, Commonwealth Split Fellowship, Indo-Canadian Fellowship, and ASEM-DUO India Fellowships. The department also has to its credit as many as nine Prime Minister’s Research Fellows in its PhD programme, the highest amongst the architecture and planning schools across the country. Three students have been selected for an international semester exchange programme to HSLU, Switzerland this year as part of the department’s ongoing international collaborations.
The department will also be hosting an international conference on spatial methods for urban sustainability (SMUS) in collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin and other knowledge partners, supported by the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) in February 2023. In the past, the department has hosted several international conferences and events like the Architectural Science Association (ASA) conference in November 2019, and 100 years of Bauhaus in April 2019, which provided platforms for intellectual exchange among students, faculty and other stakeholders.
In collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management, IIT Roorkee, the department steered a hands-on pedagogy to create a vernacular (low-carbon bamboo) structure funded and initiated through the British Council and IIT Roorkee. This involved participatory learning through design, construction and documentation, along with the engagement of local crafts and experts. This initiative created cross-regional learning channels, and also had the involvement and support of BRAC University, Bangladesh.