Balwant Sheth School of Architecture (BSSA) was established in 2007 at a time when India was undergoing a dynamic change due to liberalisation of its economy and major shifts in the cultural sphere. The school had the challenge to envision the architect for these new times and new challenges. With changing user demands and proliferation of new building materials and technologies, the world of architecture and the built environment were undergoing a drastic change. The school opened with an intention to review the practice of a designer, engage with multiple disciplines, and build the foundation for research-oriented practice.
Recognized by the Council of Architecture (COA), the 5-year Bachelors of Architectureprogram is designed to generate and debate new modes of teaching and learning in architecture. The profession of architecture has new roles and responsibilities today as against the conventional model of the service provider and a technocrat providing smart building solutions through rigorous academic and fieldwork projects. The program’s key attempt is to widen architecture and design opportunities to newer dimensions of fields ranging from socio-cultural studies to management studies. To achieve this, the program aims at constantly adapting and infusing new concepts both from technology and management viewpoints through various programs, especially the Electives program, and para-academic workshops, but also by making students undergo 15 to 18 weeks’ internship in Architectural, Planning, and Construction firms. All this provides a 360-degree exposure based on studio learning, interactive sessions with industry leads, case studies and other engaging projects. The Institute also has a dedicated placement cell to ensure students land up on their feet.
BSSA offers a five-year Bachelor of Architecturedegree under the norms of the Council of Architecture. To apply, one must have cleared the 10+2 scheme of examination with 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics and also secure 50% aggregate marks in the 10+2 examination. They are also required to score a minimum of 70 out of 200 marks in the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA). The registration process includes filling up the admission forms and other such formalities, after which a merit list is declared based on individual scores.
Launched in the year 2018, the Masters in Architecture Degree Program is a 2-year natural extension to the Bachelor’s program to expand its ethos into advanced design experimentation in contemporary architecture and urban environments. Given the rapid increase in urbanisation, the course is designed to train professionals to experiment and develop new Innovative Design Strategies to create architectural conditions and structures that use design to build humane as well as creatively challenging environments, as well as engaged societies. The course provides digital prototyping and fabrication workshops along with an international study program and many live and interactive sessions with eminent industry leaders.
To further the ideas and agendas of the school in the field, a few years ago the school also established a program in Masters in Architecture. To be a part of the Master’s program, it is necessary for students to obtain a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree course or any other equivalent course recognized by the Council of Architecture. A committee set up by the school will review the portfolio of works of the applying candidate, as well as the qualifying technical requirements, after which s/he would be invited for a personal interview. A cumulative assessment of the candidate’s academic record, portfolio of works, as well as the performance in the interview (if invited) will be the criteria for enrolling the candidate in the M.Arch programme. There is no age bar in the admission of final year students.
Under the NMIMS-BSSA banner, theCentre of Interior-Environment and Design (CIED) is a new platform for those who wish to evolve design philosophy to the scale of Interior Environments. For too long Interior Design has been misunderstood as simply the techniques of constructing and sprucing up interior environments. But as the Director of CIED, Dr Kaiwan Mehta points out, “Interior worlds and environments is the new sphere of engaging with human lives, whether it is the space of family life, or work environments, or those for education, business, or pleasure – the knowledge and philosophy of Interior Worlds is something Design is beginning to explore more and more today, and in India, NMIMS-BSSA’s CIED can be at the forefront of this philosophical and design challenge and paradigms of innovation.”
CIED offers Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Interior-Environment & Designprogram which is designed with a larger concept of aiming to expose the students to diverse design ideas as well as typologies such as Hospitality, Retail, Housing, etc. This 3-year journey helps students participate in interactive workshops, explore ideas through design studios, follow Indian and International Study visits, work on advanced computation and spatial dynamics and also choose their electives thereby strengthening their cognitive and abstract thinking abilities.
To stand eligible for admissions, students must qualify for the Personal Interview hosted by the Centre of Interior-Environment Design. Candidates must obtain a minimum of 50% aggregate marks at their 10+2 or equivalent examination in any stream. Alternatively, one may hold a 10+3 (Diploma) any stream that is recognized by the central & state government. The registration process includes filling up the forms followed by a personal interview round if shortlisted.
The new DEAN AT BSSA, DR KAIWAN MEHTA, who has been engaged in education as well as the field of architecture as a theorist, proposes to further develop these programs for even newer ideas in the field of Architecture today, the world over. The idea is to diversify and specialise the learning processes of the architect of the future, so s/he can adapt to newer challenges with creative actions that are generated through critical thinking. As he says, “Choices in design are always a complex set of micro-decisions that combine our familiarity with the past and present of technologies as well as human relationships. The architect has to be aware enough to debate visions for the future of human societies and citizenship, as well as understand the struggles between culture, nature, and histories. All of this will build the capacity of an architect to be able to interpret the needs of our times, through form and space, material and construction, drawings and sites, in the design of buildings and human settlements – so that we can have architecture that enriches our world for all humanity!”