Interview by Yash Panchal

Prof. Sunil Kumar is currently working as the Director at GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad Campus. He graduated in Architecture from University College of Engineering, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and completed his Master’s in Building Engineering and Management from SPA, New Delhi. He is pursuing his Ph.D. from SPA, JNAFAU, Hyderabad.

As a consultant, he has worked on various projects as Architect and Project Manager. Prof Kumar has been teaching as visiting faculty at various Architecture colleges for Undergraduates and Postgraduates. His areas of interest are Architectural design Teaching, Building Sciences, Building Services, Energy Efficient Buildings and Professional practice. He is a certified ECBC TPA by BEE India.

Prof. Kumar on the top qualities that a B.Arch aspirant must possess

The most basic quality for any student is motivation and dedication. Along with these basic qualities, any student of architecture requires these qualities:

  1. Artistic and Creative Skills, as architecture is an amalgamation of Art and Science. The student should have a sense of proportions, color schemes, and aesthetics.
  2. Interest in Human Relationships (HR), as an architect you have to handle varied people like clients to whom you provide your professional service, allied consultants like HVAC, MEP, Electrical, Structural, Vendors, Contractors, Skilled workers and Unskilled Labor. So, it is very important that a student of Architecture should be ready to learn the complex HR.
  3. They should be interested in Research, as every project is a new challenge and for every new project, a lot of work has to be done by the Architect before actually starting the design.
  4. Good writing/presentation skills are essential as Architectural projects involve a lot of documentation like project reports, contract documents, agreements and specification writings, etc.
  5. Should have the skill/quality to work in teams, as every Architectural project is a team effort.
  6. Last and the most important is strong willpower to adhere to the code of conduct by Council of Architecture.

Message for the students wishing to join GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad in the near future

Architectural education at GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad campus focuses on 3600 development of the student. Any student joining any institute has to look for the following information to take the decision:

  1. Necessary permissions and infrastructure needed for the course: GSA, Hyderabad has been accorded permission to start the B.Arch course by Council of Architecture, GoI from the year 2017 onwards. GSA, Hyderabad has the best infrastructure needed to run the course like Classrooms, Design studios, Computer Lab, Carpentry Workshop, Building Material Museum, Building Construction Museum, Climatology Lab, Construction Yard and all other infrastructure needed for the coursework. GSA Hyderabad has two unique infrastructure facilities - Wind tunnel and Weather station which are needed for advanced Architectural education.
  2. Experience and Faculty: GSA Hyderabad will be mentored by GSA Visakhapatnam for the smooth conduct of the program. GSA Visakhapatnam has over 7 years of experience in running the course successfully with two sections of B.Arch and one section of Post-Graduation in Sustainable Architecture. GSA Hyderabad has well-qualified faculty who have not only academic qualifications but also research and professional experience. GSA Hyderabad is well supported by eminent Architectural professionals as VISITING faculty.
  3. Overall development of the student: At GSA Hyderabad, there are the facilities and infrastructure needed for 3600 development of the student. We have NSS the National Service Scheme, where a student can serve the society by participating in various programs such World Earth Day, Blood donation camps, Swachh Bharat, etc. The student community at GITAM University is very vibrant and have KALAKRUTHI, a student cultural organization to pursue and showcase their cultural skills. A three-day student festival “PRAMAN” is organized by the student community. The INNOVATION CENTRE at GITAM University trains students in advanced skills to improve their employability skills. The SKILL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE continuously focuses on improving the soft skills of the students.
Message for the students wishing to join GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad in the near future

Read more about Faculty at GSA, Hyderabad here

Goals and plans in mind for the future growth and expansion of GSA Hyderabad

At GITAM, the focus continuously is on excelling. GSA Hyderabad has a lot of plans to become one of the nationally recognized centers of learning for architectural education. We are planning many activities, knowledge acquisition, and dissemination towards this goal.          

  1. Students and Faculty will be provided with necessary support to participate in research nationally and Internationally. Faculty of GSA Hyderabad are going to present a research paper at International Conference on Sustainable Architecture.
  2. Give consultation in the areas of Heritage Conservation, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Augmented reality, Virtual reality and many other fields of architecture.
  3. Work closely with All India Institute of Architects, Indian Institute of Interior Design, INTACH and many other professional bodies in improving the professional culture in the field of Architecture.
  4. Work closely with research institutes like IIT Hyderabad, IIIT Hyderabad in the area of building science and other relevant fields of Architecture.

Prof. Kumar on how he looks at enhancing student-industry interaction at GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad?

It has been a tradition at GSA where industry leaders come and participate, engage the students of Architecture. We have conducted many hands-on workshops guided by eminent architects in their field of excellence. Regular seminars are also delivered at GSA by master Architects and Allied . The national and international tours conducted at GSA enhance the student-industry interaction by taking the students to the buildings designed by master architects and give the students to interact with master architects at the building sites.

Prof. Kumar on the growth of Architecture colleges in India

Architecture is one of the most sought out careers in India right now. Even the professionals feel the requirement of growth of Architectural education in India. There is a lot of happening at Council of Architecture, the regulating authority of Architectural education, they are also encouraging Architectural education growth and are focusing on improving the quality of Architectural education as well as research in Architecture education.

Prof. Kumar on the growth of Architecture colleges in India

Qualities which helped in creating a brand name for GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad

GITAM is an institute of par excellence, it is rated as A+ category by the National Accreditation and given the status of Autonomous by UGC in 2018. There are more than 10 disciplines being taught at three different campuses. Vision, Hard work, Pursuance are the three important qualities of the management team at GITAM which made this institute as an institute of excellence.Along with the management, the Alumni of this institute has brought great laurels and a created a brand name for GITAM. GSA Hyderabad will also walk the path of this great institute to become an institute of excellence.

Major setback or biggest hurdle faced by Prof. Kumar as the Director of GITAM School of Architecture, Hyderabad

GSA Hyderabad is a new institute starting from this academic year, we are prepared and ready to take off perfectly without any hitches. The mentoring of GSA Visakhapatnam in running this course has given us a lot of advantage. The academic calendar, selection of right faculty, planning of workshops, seminars by visiting professors all is in place. I am looking at a smooth journey for GSA Hyderabad.

Prof. Kumar on his time management

As the infrastructure at GITAM is top class, I get a lot of support and there is not much to be worried respect to time management. Everything at GSA Hyderabad ahead, the mentoring of GSA Visakhapatnam and the support from the management makes it easy in planning.

Difference between Indian education system and education system in other countries

Professional education in other countries is definitely different from India. But India is making rapid strides in improving the professional education system. Training the teachers, encouraging research in educational institutes, improving Industry-Universities interaction, all this is happening in Indian education system. The Innovation centers, Skill Development centers, the Incubation centers at various education institutes are making rapid progress in improving the quality of education with respect to students as well as teachers/professors.

Message for the students pursuing higher studies under the influence of their peers and society

Taking up any education towards attaining a career is a very important decision in everybody’s life, so everyone should strive to take the right decision. This can be done only when you have all the information with you for you to choose, so please make an effort to know about all the opportunities available you and then take a wise decision. There are many ways and means to collect the information on all the opportunities available, like peers, professionals Internet is one big source, so take a well-informed decision rather than follow a mob. Architecture and other allied careers such as Fashion , Fine Arts, Photography and many more careers which need extra motivation and dedication to be successful. So, be ready for that.