Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.)

Syllabus for Semesters I - IV (download .pdf version)
UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI
Syllabus for the Bachelor of Architecture
Programe: B.Arch. Course: Bachelor of Architecture (Semester I and II)

(As per Credit Based Semester and Grading System with effect from the academic year 2012–2013)
Introduction | New Aspects
Semester I   Semester II   Semester III   Semester IV
Scheme Content
1 | 2
Scheme Content
1 | 2
Scheme Content
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Scheme Content
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Introduction

1. Notes for the creation of a new syllabus in architecture
(Bachelor of Architecture, University of Mumbai)
"It is time that (we) remembered that schools were set up to challenge the wisdom of the world and its corruption, rather than to reinforce it."
Daniel Liebeskind

Architectural Education in India has been weighed down by the traditions of Architectural Practice that labor under the twin hegemonies of design and technology. In the past architectural curricula have developed as reactions to historical change, to immediately preceding narratives. We must appreciate that architecture today is more and more being informed by disciplines out of / other than architecture.
There is a need for redefining the Student of Architecture today. A student of architecture is not only a learner, but also a producer of knowledge. The student's tools include a critical, evaluative, conceptual mind, the ability to interconnect concepts / facts, to use theory and argument and seek a higher level of explanation in the process of learning and its application to design. The student's initial challenges shall be to differentiate between objective and accepted reality, to appreciate architecture as a cultural process and to perceive change as a series of discontinuities, more than cause / effect transitions. Only then can the student become relevant in today's world, rather than mindlessly repeat the dogma of the past.

In the creation of a new syllabus for the Bachelor of Architecture Course, certain adjustments to older mindsets must be made:
1. Architecture has to be appreciated as a 2nd Order Discipline. It is a Meta discipline, a critical attitude, not merely an empirical discipline like engineering that needs / seeks / works with data.
2. Architecture deals with fundamental issues of users, cities and societies and not only materials, processes and aesthetics. It questions the presupposed and seeks new and contemporary meanings.

Before a new syllabus is made, the makers (teachers) must recognize their own possible insidiousness in the curriculum making process and objectively go beyond their own accepted knowledge beliefs and realities. Real learning will not emerge merely out of the didactic (which itself emerges out of biases, prejudices and ad-hoc choices). Peter Eisenmann has said: "The only way to advance in a discipline is to displace knowledge and the only discourses that remain healthy are those that are displacing discourses. The ones that cling to their theory and their tradition and their rationality, die."

The following objectives for a new syllabus for architectural education are proposed:
1. The new syllabus should prepare a student to understand and locate himself / herself in the real world.
2. The new syllabus should appreciate and reconcile itself to the imperfect times that we live in.
3. The new syllabus should reflect, through application, upon the technological state-of-the-art of the world today and its relevance.
4. The new syllabus should give a direction or hope for the future.

In order to fulfill these objectives, the following questions may be asked first:
1. What is a work of architecture?
2. How is architecture different from nature?
3. How useful are our tools (curriculum) for evaluating these two questions (meta-questioning)?

Since the latter half of 2011, the Ad-hoc Board of Studies in Architecture (University of Mumbai) has called together the principals and senior faculty of all the colleges of architecture under the university for a series of deliberations on the nature of the new syllabus. Right from the very outset there has been an agreement that the syllabus should reflect the following objectives:
1. Architecture is 'discipline' / meta-discipline, not merely an empirical process
2. Critical thinking / criticality is important. The student must be given the tools to critically evaluate the world he / she lives in
3. The student needs to be redefined as more than a leaner, but a producer of knowledge
4. In the spreading world of information technology and easily available knowledge, the teacher needs to be redefined as more than a giver of information, but one who can show the student how design is a critical process
5. The architecture syllabus needs be flexible. Individual colleges should be given the means to interpret and expand on the syllabus in their own way
6. Diversity must be appreciated and encouraged. Learning can be simultaneous and non-linear
7. A student needs to inculcate the ability to question, ability to redefine technology, ability to question the relevance of technology
8. Being informed by disciplines out of / other than architecture, Non technology subjects, particularly those from the liberal arts and the humanities may come into foreground
9. Emphasis should be on theory also, not only on practice (empiricism)
10. Encourage research and give direction to research

In addition to these agreed objectives, the following external requirements are also acknowledged. The first is the adoption of the Credit system for evaluation and grading, that the University of Mumbai has adopted for all future syllabi. This entails converting the current Annual pattern Syllabus to a Semester Pattern. Secondly, acknowledging the requirements given by the Council of Architecture, New Delhi; the course shall now be divided into two distinct stages - a Basic Course and Advanced Course. The Council has also encouraged individual colleges to be given both time and credits to develop their additional syllabi components so that diversity in directions for architectural education and practice shall be encouraged. As such 25% of the timetable shall be dedicated to projects, electives or coursework offered by the colleges themselves based on their philosophy and institutional objectives.


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