MAKING OF AN ARCHITECT - ARUN DAVIS

Born and raised in Kerala, I always knew that the perspective through which I saw the world was different. Joining B.Arch. programme in McGan´s Ooty School of architecture in 2008 was a major transition, considering my life until then. Acompletely new world opened before my eyes, teaching me many things that were just mystery to me.

In my early coursework in Architecture, I struggled to obtain passing marks – and in fact, I was lucky to make it through my 1st year! At first, Architecture School was overwhelming, in particular, I struggled learning the new design ´language´, managing the intense studio hours (goodbye to mom and dad for a while) and dealing with the tough criticism. Then there were the ´super students´, those who appeared to achieve the unattainable; They could draw in plan, section AND perspective, not to mention they always maintained their fascinating ability to verbally communicate and sell their ideas.

The various activities associated with my roleas a student of architecture and the exposure at college led me to face the world like never before. Knowledge gained through academic projects, competitions and practical training has shown me the path, the approach and methods of handling real life scenarios. Five years from then, I graduated with first-class marks, achieving the J.Subramaniam Endowment award for best thesis in 2013.

After completing the Degree my outlook towards architecture changed to a higher level. I was stepped into the world of design with a whole new level of confidence; I aimed to be a better architect, in all senses.The searches for knowledge and truth, especially about the nature of humans, his behavior, beliefs and culture brings out my perception towards the art of designing space. A desire towards learning a new form of language and a style of my own will never end thus; the search drives me to the profession of teaching immediately after finishing my bachelors. Teaching in McGan´s was learning for me, learning new things, which I missed out during my graduation period. Each time my students approached me with their design works and models, I criticized them the best way I could to get the full potential from them. Every new doubt of theirs became a new lesson for me, each time they questioned me, it made me think more about it. As a teacher personally, I feel like studio projects should treated like an experiment (I should seriously start taking my own advice) but some of us (me) may think excessively rationally about our project sometimes. I feel students/friends should be taking projects to new heights and crazy places while you are in school. Not everything needs to be logical.If I look back at the time when I was with McGan's, it was more like my home with my family everyone is very dear and near to me.

Note to my juniors!!!

Welcome to junior year, the Wednesday of college. You are halfway through, with half to go if you plan to attend graduate school. Every single one of us as architecture student has shared this feeling of wanting to give up and quit. Things become too overwhelming and it may feel like you cannot handle the stress any longer. Every class is equally demanding, lot of work and very stressful. Just thinking about the amount of work that needs to be done can start a panic attack. Instead of sleeping, you just keep replaying in your mind all the things on your to-do list. You start to lack inspiration and can´t seem to move forward with your projects. Motivation starts to drain away and you no longer want to even look or think about the work. Just thinking about not wanting to do, itself is stressful. After a bad desk crit with your professor, you just want to flip tables. You start to feel like nothing you are doing is just working and there is no use in trying to move forward. What happens to us during this time is hard to describe in words. And trust me, this happens at least once every semester. You are all at this point and no matter how stressful, crazy, annoying, and/or tiresome you get… stick with it. This has happened to me, my studio professor said ridiculous thing that had nothing to do with where I was trying to go but it made me think. It made me think hard at how I can take what he said but make it my way. This resulted in me coming up with a solution to my problem. Even though it was not exactly what he was saying, I was able to tweak it into something that worked for me.

I am not saying you should force yourself to stay but ALL of the hard work and time you put in architecture all these years. Might as well put your complaints aside and get that degree. Odds are you have had a couple of criticisms where you have walked out really proud of your design and ecstatic about the critic´s response. Being handed your degree is just like that except 100x better. Sure, you could get to graduation and still be unsure about architecture as a career. However, here is the thing; you have been passionate and showing interest, keep it till the end. You showed that no matter how tough things got, you stuck with it to the end. That translates to any hiring professional no matter the career. They see someone who, despite all of the obstacles architecture so generously offers, made it.

Finishing my course and one year teaching, today I am pursuing my post graduation in landscape architecture from school of planning and architecture, New Delhi one of the apex architecture colleges in India. Apart from all these, I do private my own architecture practice in Kerala, completed more than 10 projects within a short span of one year. Discovering the new how´s and why´s of an issue was the ultimate challenge throughout my architecture life, but immersing my selves in the known and continuing my journey of architecture with memories and the great experiences.

Big gang of friends, Colorless uniforms, Reminding those colorful days.!
Drivel chats, new figures…
Silly fights, micro bits, unforgettable group photos…
Never ending seminars and workshops
Design night outs, events and DJ´s…
Discussions on anything and nothing but on something…
They make me laugh when I remember the time…
We tried to make you cry when you remember the time…

McGan´s Ooty School of architecture
Live in, out stand!

Arun Davis | Alumni | McGan´s Ooty School of Architecture